6 Jun 2016

Fiji's latest MP ban is 'public's loss'

8:07 am on 6 June 2016

The leader of Fiji's opposition National Federation Party says the party is weighing up its options after one of its MPs was suspended from parliament until the next election.

The leader of the Fiji National Federation Party, Biman Prasad.

The leader of the Fiji National Federation Party, Biman Prasad. Photo: RNZ / Sally Round

On Friday, parliament voted to suspend Tupou Draunidalo for the rest of the parliamentary term by 28 votes to 16.

The vote followed a recommendation by the Parliamentary Privileges Committeee -- which is made up of four government MPs -- after an incident on Thursday when Ms Draunidalo apparently called the education minister an "idiot", and accused him of racism.

The party leader, Biman Prasad, said suspending an MP until 2018 for such an offence was extreme and unwarranted and the party was deciding what it would do in response, which could include legal action.

However, he said it's the public who is most affected by the suspension.

"It's not so much Honourable Draunidalo, it's the people who have elected her, people who have voted her and the party that she represents will miss that representation in parliament. You know, when you look at penalties, when you look at sanctions, that must be within the ambit of a reasonable penalty."

Biman Prasad said the suspension shows the government was overly sensitive to any form of criticism.