NEW CABINET ANNOUNCED IN FIJI

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 21, 1999 – Radio Australia)---Fiji's newly elected Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry has announced a 17-member Cabinet, which includes 10 indigenous Fijians, and four Assistant Ministers.

Mr. Chaudhry has allocated two Cabinet posts each to the non-coalition partner of his ruling Labour Party, the Christian Democratic Alliance, and the coalition partner, PANU.

The Christian party and PANU won three and four seats respectively in last week’s general election.

However, Labour's other coalition partner, the Fijian Association Party or FAP, has only been allocated one full cabinet post, that of its leader Adi Kuini Speed and an Assistant Minister's post.

Adi Kuini was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Fijian Affairs.

Christian Party representative Adi Koila, the daughter of Fiji's President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, is the Minister for Tourism and Transport.

Earlier, Ratu Mara convinced the leaders of FAP and PANU to form a Government with the Labour Party after reports they might boycott the Government over the appointment of an Indo-Fijian Prime Minister.

Mr. Chaudhry will look after the Finance, Information, Public Enterprise and the Sugar Industry portfolios.

TWO FIJIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTERS SWORN IN

SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 20, 1999 – Radio Australia)---President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara has sworn in two indigenous Fijian deputy prime ministers to join the government of new Indo-Fijian Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

They are Adi Kuini Speed, widow of late former Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra, and University of the South Pacific academic Dr. Tupeni Baba.

The new government is the broadest governing coalition Fiji has ever seen. An invitation has been issued to almost all parties that ran in last week’s election to be represented in the new Cabinet, with the exception of outgoing Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka's SVT.

The full Cabinet is expected to be sworn in Friday.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports that the new Prime Minister has offered cabinet posts to almost all the parties represented in the parliament and to some independents.

"Mr. Chaudhry was obliged under the new Constitution to offer cabinet posts to political parties that won ten percent of the seats or more. But he's gone much further than that in an attempt to win more indigenous Fijian support for his government.

"He's also trying to calm fears in the business community that the Labour Party's socialist platform will scare away investors.

"He said ‘In working to uplift the conditions of life of the poor, the workers and the less privileged in our society, we are not being anti-business. We are just being pro-people. We are pro-development with a strong sense of social justice.’

"Fiji's business leaders are keen to learn who will get the major economic portfolios.

"Sean Dorney, Suva."

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