7 Nov 2006

Fiji's multi-party cabinet could be split when 2007 Budget is put to vote

9:31 am on 7 November 2006

Fiji's multi-party cabinet could be split when the government's 2007 Budget is put to the vote in parliament later this month.

The Daily Post reports that the Labour Party has put its nine cabinet ministers on notice on what is expected of all Labour MPs when it comes to the vote.

The newspaper quotes informed sources as saying the Labour Party constitution is clear that every member has to vote along party lines.

The sources say the FLP would never support aspects of the budget which are anti-poor such as the increase in Value Added Tax from 12.5 to 15% and the rise in import duties on basic goods.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the party's cabinet ministers were not consulted on the taxation provisions of the budget despite being in the multi-party government.

Mr Chaudhry says the Labour caucus will meet on Thursday to decide whether it can give support to such anti-people measures.

Meanwhile, the National Federation Party has also described the budget as anti-poor and says with nine ministers in cabinet, Labour should have been more influential in giving it the right direction.