19 Dec 2022

Fiji's SODELPA says back to the drawing board on coalition talks

4:33 pm on 19 December 2022

The Fijian people will need to continue their wait to find out who will lead the country for the next four years after the kingmaker Social Democratic Liberal Party's board failed to agree to proposals put forward by the incumbent FijiFirst and the People's Alliance-National Federation Party after intense negotiations on Monday.

Following almost four hours of politicking which started at 10.30am local time, party leader Viliame Gavoka emerged from the meeting to declare no deal had been made.

"Let me once again stress that we fully understand and appreciate the challenge that is with us at Sodelpa to decide how this country will be governed for the next four years," an emotional Gavoka told the media in Suva.

"We fully understand the significance of this. We are committed to ensuring that our decision who governs this country will be done for the best interest of our people."

Viliame Gavoka.

Viliame Gavoka. Photo: Supplied

Negotiations between Sodelpa and FijiFirst, the People's Alliance and NFP began on Sunday evening and Gavoka confirmed his team met with both parties and listened to what they had to offer.

He said the Sodelpa board has gone through "in great detail" offers from both parties and have decided to continue negotiations.

"The negotiating team goes back to the parties concerned, [it will] relook at some aspects of the offer and bring it back to the management board on Wednesday at 2pm," he said.

"Do another round of talks. That is what we have decided."

But Fiji Women's Crisis Centre coordinator Shamima Ali said it was not fair that the Fijian people who went out and voted are now having to wait this long for a government to be formed.

Ali is calling for the political leaders to "come to their senses".

"I hope that political parties come to an understanding for a peaceful Fiji where human rights are respected and where we don't have such restrictive laws," she said.

She hopes that the "kingmakers" will put the people first when making the final decision "and behaving like the religious society that we are where forgiveness and kindness are paramount".