28 Jun 2006

Fiji Labour Party overrules leader

7:53 pm on 28 June 2006

The acting leader of the Fiji Labour Party, Poseci Bune, has overruled his leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, and withdrawn the list of opposition senate nominees prepared by Mr Chaudhry.

Mr Chaudhry had given the list to the opposition leader Mick Beddoes to be forwarded to President Iloilo for appointment.

Radio Legend says Mr Beddoes has confirmed that Mr Bune recalled Mr Chaudhry's list as the Labour Party's management board was holding an emergency meeting at a Coral Coast hotel near Sigatoka late this afternoon.

Mr Beddoes says he is seeking legal advice on what has happened.

The management board meeting took place without Mr Chaudhry who left for an undisclosed overseas destination this morning despite being told of the meeting yesterday.

Those at the meeting were Mr Bune, party vice presidents Krishna Datt and Dr Atu Emberson-Bain, MPs Agni Deo Singh and Felix Anthony and other management board members.

But the Labour party president, Jokapeci Koroi, who is the chair of the management board, was absent.

The meeting took place as tension escalated in the Labour Party following Mr Chaudhry's decision to draw up his list of opposition senators without consulting the management board or any senior Labour members.

Mr Chaudhry is reported to have dropped people who would have made competent senators like Dr Emberson-Bain and nominated those who Mr Chaudhry believes are loyal to him.

Labour sources say those dropped are people who have differed with Mr Chaudhry during party meetings and shown their full support for the multi-party cabinet.

The Labour Party's acting general secretary and minister for energy in the multi-party government, Lekh Ram Vyashnoi, says Mr Bune will be disciplined when Mr Chaudhry returns from overseas.