21 Nov 2006

Claims Fiji's Labour leader is opposing budget to destroy multi-party cabinet

11:24 am on 21 November 2006

There are claims that Fiji's Labour leader is opposing the budget to destroy the multi-party cabinet and secure the Opposition leader's job.

Labour's annual delegates' conference in Nadi at the weekend ordered all of its MPs to vote against the budget in parliament tomorrow.

A major sticking point's the government's move to raise Value Added Tax on essential goods from 12.5 to 15 per cent.

The Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, has warned that those who vote against the budget, could face dismissal from cabinet.

However Labour's vice president, Krishna Datt, refuses to tow the line and has questioned Mr Chaudhry's motives.

He says one explanation is Mr Chaudhry still wants to fill Mick Beddoes shoes and be Opposition leader.

"I think he'd still love to be the leader of the opposition and this is probably a very good chance. I mean once the members of the cabinet go out, then Mick Beddoes loses his position."

Mr Datt, who was speaking from New Delhi in India, won't be able to vote.