23 Nov 2006

Fiji PM again asks dissident Labour minister to resign

5:23 pm on 23 November 2006

Fiji's prime minister has written to the four Labour Party cabinet ministers who voted against the 2007 Budget to resign as soon as possible.

Laisenia Qarase has told Radio Legend that the Budget Bill has been passed on its third reading and he expects the four ministers to resign by this afternoon or as early as possible.

He says if they don't, the next step is to advise President Iloilo to dismiss them.

Speaking on behalf of the four ministers, the minister for employment opportunities, Ragho Nand says they have taken a stand and will not resign.

Mr Nand says they will wait for the prime minister to sack them.

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says he will wait for the ministers' dismissal before announcing the party's position on the matter.

He had earlier said that any dismissal of the ministers would result in the end of the multi-party government.

Mr Qarase said earlier that if Labour Party ministers lost their cabinet positions, he would ask Mr Chaudhry to replace them with other Labour MPs.