9 Aug 2019

Fiji govt rejects claims PM assaulted MP

3:13 pm on 9 August 2019

The governing Fiji First party is rejecting claims by an opposition MP that he was assaulted by the Prime Minister today.

The front of Fiji's parliament buildings in Suva.

The front of Fiji's parliament buildings in Suva. Photo: RNZ / Jamie Tahana

National Federation Party member Pio Tikoduadua told parliament that Frank Bainimarama broke his glasses in a scuffle in the parliamentary building.

He said the Prime Minister also insulted and threatened him during the assault, which he claimed took place this morning.

On its Facebook page, the Fiji First party said the claims are a "blatant lie".

The claims come in a tempestuous week for Fiji parliamentary politics, including a short-lived attempt to bring a vote of no confidence against Mr Bainimarama.

Notice of a motion of no confidence was submitted on Wednesday but withdrawn three hours later after the speaker ordered an urgent debate that night.

The leader of Fiji's SODELPA party, Sitiveni Rabuka, today told RNZ Pacific the motion attempt was about consolidating the opposition.

Opposition MP censured over FB post

Fiji's parliament has voted to censure an opposition member for a racist Facebook post.

SODELPA's Mosese Bulitavu had said that stabbings and domestic violence were not part of Fijian culture until the Fiji-Indian community arrived in the 1800s.

In a session that lasted long into the night, government MPs accused Mr Bulitavu of igniting ethnic division and insulting a large part of the population.

SODELPA MPs voted against censure, arguing it could prejudice a free trial if Mr Bulitavu is later charged.

The opposition National Federation Party's three MPs broke ranks to vote with the government on the censure.

Mr Bulitavu remains an MP.