23 Oct 2018

Fiji's NFP open to working with any party to form govt

1:45 pm on 23 October 2018

Fiji's National Federation Party has not ruled out teaming up with any other party including Frank Bainimarama's FijiFirst party, in case of a hung parliament.

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Photo: RNZI/Alex Perrottet

But the party's leader Biman Prasad said the NFP's main focus three weeks out from the election was to get into power on its own.

Professor Prasad was speaking in a series of in-depth interviews with political party leaders on Fiji broadcaster Viti FM last night.

He said he was feeling very confident about NFP's chances and gaining well above the three seats it won in 2014.

"I will talk to anybody," he said. "We are not ruling [out] any discussion after the election but right now our focus is to win government."

Among the six parties contesting the 14 November election, SODELPA and Labour have said they would not team up with FijiFirst which won a two thirds majority in 2014.

That year the first elections were held since the 2006 coup under a new constitution and electoral system brought in by Mr Bainimarama's interim government.

Professor Prasad said close to half of the population was in poverty or struggling and he pledged an NFP government, within its first 100 days, would raise the minimum wage to $US2.30, up from $US1.25 at present.

Removing VAT and duties on certain basic foods was also a priority, he said.

An NFP government would establish a one-stop-shop for those wanting to start up businesses and ease "onerous" regulations.

The last government had been an expensive one, Professor Prasad said, driving growth through spending and relying on tourism which "is under strain".

The NFP planned to raise the retirement age from 55 at present, he said, adding confidence and harmony in the civil service needed to be restored and an independent Civil Service Commission would be established.

Professor Prasad said an NFP government would look at how to make the voting system, which had "a lot of flaws" more voter friendly and it would review all the decrees, now acts, which had been preserved under the 2013 constitution.

"We don't like this constitution. The fact is we have it in place and it's almost impossible to change," he said.

The party's full manifesto would be released on 29 October, he said.

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