30 Jun 2020

Fiji's NFP hails return of opposition colleagues

5:23 pm on 30 June 2020

Fiji's National Federation Party, (NFP), has welcomed the end of suspension for its Opposition Sodelpa colleagues.

NFP MPs, Lenora Qereqeretabua, Biman Prasad and Pio Tikoduadua

The three NFP MPs were the only Opposition presence in Parliament recently Photo: Fiji Parliament

On Monday, the Registrar of Political Parties lifted the main Opposition party's suspension after he was satisfied they had met all requirements following his ruling to suspend the party on 25 May for breaching the Constitution.

Over the past several weeks, in the absence of Sodelpa, the NFP's three members had been holding the fort on the Opposition benches in Parliament.

NFP leader Biman Prasad said the return of his 21 colleagues was "timely".

"We are happy that the suspension has been lifted and that the full complement of the Opposition will be back in Parliament and in time for the debate on next year's budget.

Mr Prasad said the Budget would be announced on 17 July and debate was expected to begin soon after.

Meanwhile Sodelpa - fresh out of suspension - has apologised to the people of Fiji.

In a statement, the party sought the public's forgiveness and said the last several weeks had been a "valuable lesson".

The party said the suspension taught them to "always put the interests of citizens first".

Sodelpa admits it has "urgent issues to resolve and this includes unifying all its members".

The Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem, said the party submitted a constitution, audited accounts for 2019 and appointed a general secretary who's also the registered officer.

He said two people had objected to Emele Duituturaga's appointment as general secretary and Mr Saneem said he told them to use the party machinery to raise their objections.

"Sodelpa will hold a special general meeting on 25 July to look into the delay of its AGM, adopt audited financial statements for last year and adopt a selection process for the party leader's position."

Mr Saneem said the acting appointments of the president and vice presidents expires today adding the SGM's the best avenue to address this.

Mohammed Saneem.

Mohammed Saneem. Photo: Fiji govt