8 Jun 2015

Fiji High Court rules in favour of opposition MP

6:09 pm on 8 June 2015

The Fiji High Court has dismissed an election petition against an opposition member of Parliament.

Following the death of the Sodelpa MP, Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua, his place was to be taken by Mikaele Leawere, as he was the next most popular Sodelpa candidate.

However, according to the Electoral Decree rules a person cannot run for office while employed as a public officer.

Mr Leawere was the acting general secretary of the Fiji Teachers Association and resigned to contest the election.

He missed out on a seat, and took up his role again.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji's Attorney-General

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji's Attorney-General Photo: RNZ / Republika

The Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, says that's enough to disqualify him, while the Electoral Commission's counsel, Bhupendra Patel, argued the Constitution allows Mr Leawere to resign again and fill the vacant position.

Justice David Alfred has this afternoon ruled in favour of the Electoral Commission, which had originally awarded the seat to Mr Leawere, before Mr Sayed Khaiyum's office brought the petition.