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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 19, 1999 – Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Women organizations in the Fiji Islands have welcomed the election of seven women in the new House of Representatives, the Fiji Times reports.

The Young Women's Christian Association says it is "very encouraging."

The National Council of Women says it indicates that women are getting the recognition they have earned.

YWCA's president Amelia Rokotuivuna said the elections were a good start for women in politics.

"We expect a Labour government to have a very high social philosophy and ideology in accordance with their manifesto and we are looking forward to working closely with them," she said.

Ms. Rokotuivuna said she expected a Labour government to address women-related issues more quickly and efficiently.

National Council of Women president Tupou Vere said she hoped the women MPs would push for the provision of more resources for the implementation of the National Women's Plan of Action, which was launched last year.

"The council is very happy with the large number of women in Parliament and we hope that more attention will be given to the issues that concern women, especially the gender-based issues in decision-making," said Ms. Vere.

Fiji Women's Crisis Centre coordinator Shamima Ali said the success of the seven women should be commended because in such a male-dominated system for women, it was good for women to get in.

"But I don't think that with women there, things are going to change," she added.

She said this was because the women would be subjected to the system of governance that might present limitations.

"We hope to see the completion of the law reforms and we would like to see government's commitment to it reflected in the new budget," Ms. Ali said.

Fiji Women's Rights Movement coordinator Gina Houng Lee said they "look forward to their support and seek reform in the areas of sexual offences legislation, family law and the industrial relations bill through Parliament."

The seven successful women candidates:

Ofa Duncan (United General Party), Lavenia Padarath (Fiji Labour Party), Adi Kuini Speed (FAP), Akanisi Koroitamana (Party of National Unity), Adi Koila Nailatikau (VLV - Christian Democratic Party), Marieta Rigamoto (independent) and Ema Tagicakibau (Fijian Association Party).

Title -- 2116 POLITICS: Seven women become MPs in Fiji Date -- 19 May 1999 Byline – None Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Fiji Times, 19/5/99 Copyright -- FT Status -- Unabridged

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