10 Jul 2006

Fiji SDL opens up to Labour dissidents

2:01 pm on 10 July 2006

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says senior Fiji Labour Party members threatened with disciplinary action and expulsion are welcome to join his ruling SDL party.

The Fiji Times also quotes Mr Qarase as saying that although it would be a sad day if Labour Party ministers withdrew from the cabinet, his party would continue to run the affairs of the government.

Mr Qarase says while it would be sad to see the multi-party cabinet derailed, having a fresh general election is not an option.

He says he has been happy with the multi-party cabinet so far and would consider continuing with the Labour Party ministers even if they are disciplined provided the party's constitution allows it.

Mr Qarase says the SDL would welcome Labour Party parliamentarians with open arms if they decide to switch parties after the five-year term of parliament.

The prime minister also says that if Labour party ministers withdraw from the cabinet, he would still have the option of inviting the two United People's Party MPs, Mick Beddoes and Bernadette Rounds Ganilau, to join the cabinet.