23 Nov 2006

Four FLP ministers against Fiji govt budget will not resign - says FLP leader

7:58 am on 23 November 2006

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says he has instructed the 4 cabinet ministers from his party who voted against the government's 2007 Budget yesterday not to resign.

Mr Chaudhry's comments followed a statement by the prime minister that unless the four resign by this morning, he will ask President Iloilo to dismiss them.

But Mr Chaudhry says the ministers did nothing wrong because there is precedent for allowing a free or conscience vote.

Mr Chaudhry says he had pleaded with Mr Qarase to accommodate this, particularly as there are no ground rules for the multi-party cabinet.

On the 5 Labour Party ministers who were not present in the House to vote against the budget,. Mr Chaudhry says they will be disciplined and possibly sacked.

He says they had been told to be present to vote against the budget.

Mr Chaudhry says the ministers had not been given permission to travel overseas and "this was clearly an act of deviousness on the part of the prime minister."