20 Jun 2006

Fiji Labour Party head and deputy at loggerheads

7:35 pm on 20 June 2006

Sharp differences have emerged in the Fiji Labour Party between its leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, and his deputy, Poseci Bune, over how party MPs and ministers should vote on government Bills.

Mr Chaudhry has said that he expects all Labour MPs, including its ministers in the multi-party cabinet, to follow directives to be laid down by Labour's national council when it meets on Saturday and to oppose government Bills as necessary.

But Mr Bune, who is also a minister, has told Radio Legend that Mr Chaudhry may be jumping the gun by getting the party's national council to decide on how they should vote.

Mr Bune says Labour cannot have just a blanket rule to vote on party lines as they need to have consultations with the SDL to reach common ground on issues.

He says the multi-party cabinet cannot work with pre-conditions set, as it would make it difficult for the two parties to reach a resolution on many issues affecting the nation.

Mr Bune says it is pointless to get Labour's national council to give a directive to only go with what the party wants as they are now in cabinet.

Mr Bune also says he stands by his statement that the rebel Labour Party minister, Lekh Ram Vyashnoi, should respect the cabinet code of conduct.

Mr Bune says if Mr Vyashnoi steps outside the code, he will have to answer for his conduct.