6 Sep 2019

Motion to suspend Fiji PM for two years defeated in parliament

8:23 pm on 6 September 2019

A motion to suspend Fiji's prime minister for two years for allegedly assaulting an opposition MP has been defeated in the Fiji parliament.

The Privileges Committee today delivered a report on the incident between Frank Bainimarama and Pio Tikoduadua on 9 August.

Frank Bainimarama

Frank Bainimarama Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

Despite a video appearing to show the Prime Minister grabbing and shoving the opposition MP, the committee says there's no evidence he was forcefully touched.

It recommends Mr Bainimarama apologise for abusing Mr Tikoduadua or be suspended for six months.

But SODELPA MP Filipe Tuisawau moved to amend this and extend the suspension to two years.

After hours of debate a vote was taken and the motion for the ammendement defeated 27 votes to 23 with one abstention.

As the government side celebrated their victory the opposition staged a walkout and were not present for the prime minister's official apology on the floor.

"I offer my unreserved apologies to him, to my colleagues, to the parliament and to you Mr Speaker Sir for my actions. I regret this event has caused a distraction from the vital work of the parliament in advancing the wellbeing of all Fijians," Frank Bainimarama said.

"I look forward to getting back to the national business of this parliament and to upholding the high standards of conduct the Fijian people deserve and expect from those elected to serve their interests."

Following the prime minister's apology the speaker adjourned parliament until Tuesday 12 November.