22 May 2006

Fiji's United People's Party says opposition of two is absurd

1:20 pm on 22 May 2006

Fiji's United People's Party says its decision to form an opposition of two in parliament will highlight the absurdity of the situation.

The party has rescinded its coalition agreement with the Fiji Labour Party, which hopes to get eight seats in a multi-party cabinet, led by Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase.

The UPP's leader, Mick Beddoes, says the Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, had invited him to be on a list of nominees, but he felt the country needed an opposition party.

Mr Beddoes says he hopes his decision will eventually prompt some changes within parliament.

"In the power sharing exercise, the only inclusion is the major parties, so if it does anything, it shoud highlight the absurdity of the end result. Because everybody feels there's a need for an effective opposition, two people is hardly an effective opposition."

Mr Beddoes says that Mr Chaudhry was disappointed with his decision but accepted his reasons.

The UPP won two seats in the general elections with one going to Mr Beddoes and the other to Bernadette Rounds Ganilau.