28 Jun 2006

Fiji Labour leader threatens to sack party's MPs

9:14 am on 28 June 2006

The Fiji Labour Party is in turmoil with its leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, threatening to sack his cabinet ministers and backbenchers if they do not toe the party line.

Mr Chaudhry told Radio Legend this morning that no member is above the party and no MP should speak against the discussion paper presented by him at the party's national council meeting last weekend.

Earlier this week, Labour's deputy leader, Poseci Bune, said the paper laying down rules for the conduct of Labour cabinet ministers was Mr Chaudhry's, "it was not discussed at the meeting and had no official status within the party."

Mr Chaudhry says "those who have been spreading rumours against the paper will have to submit to party discipline."

He says "if they do not wish to submit to party discipline and do not wish to speak along party lines on important national issues, then they are free to leave the party and test the waters themselves."

In another development, Radio Legend reports that it has just learnt that senior Labour Party members have obtained a legal opinion on Mr Chaudhry's attempt to weaken the powers of the party's management board.

It quotes the Labour MPs as saying Mr Chaudhry is now clearly trying to take all issues relating to the party and multi-party cabinet to the national council which is mainly made up of representatives of the National Farmers Union, Mr Chaudhry's power base.

They say Mr Chaudhry is doing this because he is losing support in the party's management board and caucus.