8 Aug 2006

Fiji's PM says FLP leader has no powers to remove Labour party MPs

5:27 am on 8 August 2006

Fiji's prime minister says the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has no powers to withdraw his party MPs who are in the multi-party cabinet.

Laisenia Qarase has told Fiji TV that can only happen if an MP is expelled.

Mr Qarase says failing that only he, and not Mr Chaudhry, has the power over who he wants to remove from his cabinet.

Mr Qarase was responding comments by Mr Chaudhry that if dissident party members like Krishna Datt and Poseci Bune, go from the cabinet he can provide two more from his 31 MPs.

Mr Qarase says Labour Party members who are ministers of the government are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister.

Mr Qarase says Mr Chaudhry has no legal authority to remove a cabinet minister.

That legal authority rests with the president on the advice of the prime minister.

Mr Qarase says if a Labour Party member is expelled from the party and loses his seat, that would not stop the functioning of the multi-party cabinet.