3 May 2006

Fiji's two main political parties agree to cooperate over new government

7:43 am on 3 May 2006

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, and the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, have promised to work together to form a multi-party government after the general elections.

Both men gave their undertaking during a leaders' forum on Radio Legend's sister Hindi and Fijian language stations.

Mr Qarase has previously said that the multi-party government is undemocratic and he could not work with Mr Chaudhry.

But speaking during the radio forum, he said yesterday that the differences between him and Mr Chaudhry have been blown out of all proportion and he can find ways to work with the Labour leader.

Fiji's constitution requires all parties winning at least 10% of seats in the House of Representatives to be invited to join a multiparty cabinet.

Mr Qarase said he is sure his SDL and Labour will qualify to be in a multi-party cabinet and he intends to work together whether he likes it or not.

Mr Chaudhry said he hoped Mr Qarase was sincere because they would need to work together to form the next government provided all negotiations are held in good faith.