27 Mar 2006

Fiji's SDL party denies dumping 3 cabinet ministers as candidates

8:15 pm on 27 March 2006

Fiji's ruling SDL party is denying that it's dumped three cabinet ministers who were planning be candidates in the general elections in May.

There were reports that the controversial minister of home affairs, Josefa Vosanibola, the Public Enterprises minister, Jonetani Galuinadi, and the Health minister, Solomoni Naivalu were not chosen to stand.

But, the SDL's national director, Jale Baba, says there are still 20 candidates to be announced, and Mr Galuinadi and Mr Vosanibola are on the list of hopefuls.

And, he says Mr Naivalu had already announced that he wouldn't be standing again.

Mr Baba says the pre-selection list is chosen by secret ballot by the branch officials in each constituency and the names go to the SDL board for consideration but it's the board which has the final say in who will stand.

"We don't dump people. We're grateful to the people who came to stand for the party in the last general elections when we were a very young party. And, they've all helped to make the party it is now - very strong and ready to lead again. So, it's not a question of dumping."

Mr Baba says the SDL board will meet next week to make a final decision on candidates.