FIJIAN PARTIES SEEK GRAND COALITION

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 8, 2001 – Fiji Times)---A coalition of all Fijian political parties has been proposed to ensure that Fijian votes are not split during the August elections. The coalition that will feature Fijian political parties contesting the election under their own banners will be expected to share preferences to parties within the coalition.

The Fijian Political Forum said Fijian parties need to disregard their personal agendas and work together in the elections. Members of the forum have decided that they will form a coalition.

They have acknowledged the need to approach all other Fijian political parties to join them in the fight. But it will wait until all Fijian political parties are registered before approaching them to join them in a coalition.

In a forum meeting, it was discussed that the need to unite and work together under one umbrella was more significant now than ever. "We have now realized that we need to unite and work together,'' forum spokesperson, Esira Rabuno said.

Mr. Rabuno said the forum would approach Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's proposed party, the Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua, New Nationalist and other proposed Fijian political parties. He said other Fijian political parties will be approached to join the forum.

Mr. Rabuno said the need to unite and work together was important if the Fijians were to dominate in the August elections.

He said the forum could not reveal the strategy it would follow while approaching the political parties to join the forum.

The forum includes the Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo party, a faction of the Fijian Association Party and the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei.

Mr. Rabuno said the next forum meeting would focus on the sharing of preferences.

For additional reports from the Fiji Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Times.

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