20 Jun 2006

Fiji Labour party leader says ministers in his party will vote along party lines

7:02 am on 20 June 2006

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says he expects ministers from his party in the multi-party cabinet to vote along party lines and oppose government bills as necessary.

Mr Chaudhry is quoted in the local media as saying that it is the prime minister's problem if Labour Party ministers vote against the government, not his.

Mr Chaudhry says Labour backbenchers will also vote against the government if they feel legislation is against the interests of the people.

He has rejected a statement by the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, that according to the 1999 Korolevu Declaration which Mr Chaudhry signed, backbenchers of a party in a multi-party cabinet are part of the government, not the opposition.

Mr Chaudhry says the Korolevu Declaration is now dead, Labour backbenchers are not part of the government, they cannot be gagged and can vote against government Bills.