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SUVA, Fiji Islands (March 31, 2000 – Fiji’s Daily Post)---Former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has admitted that his career as a politician is now over.

He said the results of the last election were an indication that the people had rejected him and as a result he has quit politics.

"My party, the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT), had been rejected in the last general elections, giving us a clear indication that we had been rejected," Mr. Rabuka said.

"I'll only be making a fool of myself if I return to politics to try and win back their confidence knowing that the people had rejected me."

He said that voters went to the polls and changed the government by using their democratic right. He brushed aside calls for a Fijian Prime Minister.

"Why now when they had used their democratic right to choose who they wanted to lead them?"

Mr. Rabuka, who is the chairman of the Great Council of Chief, said government had five years to prove themselves to the voters and what would happen in the next general elections would again be entirely up to the voters.

He urged the public to rally behind the government and let them show what they could do during their five-year term.

After a microscopic review of the last general elections, the SVT management laid the blame on the 1997 Constitution as their downfall, which had caused great divisions among the indigenous Fijians.

Mr. Rabuka admitted there were differences within the SVT party about the Constitution. However, he said, because of his belief in multi racialism, he had to push some matters through even though they were against the wishes of some senior party members.

"What many people fail to understand is the fact that the whole world knows that the SVT is solely supported by indigenous Fijians.

"But by passing the Constitution it proved that living in harmony was foremost and not race.

"The 1997 Constitution is a living testimony to the whole world that the SVT had taken care of the Indians here in Fiji."

On amendments to the constitution, Mr. Rabuka said the matter was "up to the government of the day." He said that he was a strong nationalist throughout the years of his leadership.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

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