20 May 2006

Fiji Labour Party accepts offer to join government

9:37 am on 20 May 2006

The Fiji Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has accepted the prime minister's offer to join the proposed multi-party government.

This follows yesterday's offer by Laisenia Qarase to give Labour seven significant ministries in line with the requirements of the constitution.

Mr Chaudhry met Mr Qarase for the first time since the election and agreed with his proposal to submit 12 names to be considered for ministerial appointments.

But Mr Chaudhry says in his view Labour's entitlement is eight ministers and not seven as stated by Mr Qarase.

He also says he wants his coalition partners, the two MPs of the United People's Party, to be considered for cabinet although they have no such constitutional entitlement.

The list will be submitted on Monday which may delay the swearing in of the government until Tuesday.