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SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 2, 1998 - Radio Australia)---Fiji's Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka has been given the mandate by his ruling SVT Party to continue as leader and Party President.

As Radio Australia correspondent Karan Pillay reports from Suva, Mr. Rabuka was expected to step down as Party President at the party's annual meeting on Saturday.

"It was announced earlier in the week that Prime Minister Rabuka would stand down as the SVT President, because the new constitution of the party does not allow the leader to hold the presidency. But many senior members of the party called for Mr. Rabuka to continue as President.

"One prominent chief and senator, Adi Litia Cakobau, moved a motion to amend the party constitution to allow Mr. Rabuka to hold both positions.

"Adi Litia said the ramifications of changing the leadership months before the April '99 election was not healthy.

"The motion was supported by all delegates of the many provinces and constituencies at the SVT meeting.

"Mr. Rabuka said afterwards it was a big boost for him to see the party support and vote of confidence.

"Karen Pillay Suva."

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