20 Nov 2014

Fiji's main opposition party defends its boycott

6:28 am on 20 November 2014

Fiji's main opposition party has defended its boycott today of the special parliamentary sitting and address by the Indian Prime Minister.

The opposition spokesman in the Parliament, and member of the Sodelpa Party, Ratu Naiqama (nai-ing-ama) Lalabalavu, says the Speaker of the House sent a letter to the opposition inviting them to give the traditional vote of thanks speech after Mr Modi's speech, but the invitation was later retracted.

Ratu Naiqama says the party sent a letter to Mr Modi to explain and to make clear the boycott was not intended to offend.

He says the move was a blatant abuse of democracy and parliamentary norms.

"To be withdrawn by the government of the day, we find that quite hypocritical in the sense that the government of the day is bypassing the independence of the House, of the Parliament, especially the Speaker's role."

Ratu Naiqama says the government still wants to rule undemocratically.