VOTE FLP, HAVE A COUP: FIJI’S DR. BABA

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By Mithleshni Gurdayal, Ana Tudrau, Josephine Prasad

SUVA, Fiji Islands (July 31, 2001 - Fiji’s Daily Post/Pasifik Nius)---New Labour Unity Party leader Dr. Tupeni Baba has warned that a vote next month for deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry will result in another coup, the Daily Post reports.

And he says last year's coup attempt would have been avoided if he had been prime minister because, unlike Chaudhry, "I would have paid heed to security concerns."

Speaking on national radio, Dr. Baba also blamed Chaudhry and deposed Agriculture Minister Poseci Bune for the fears raised among indigenous Fijians over land issues.

He said the two handled the Land Use Commission issues badly and ignored his advice and offer to mediate.

But last night Chaudhry accused former academic Dr. Baba of "inciting and planting fear among the people."

Chaudhry said Dr. Baba was "desperate to become the prime minister."

Bune said Chaudhry would return as prime minister if he won the general election.

Bune, a former senior civil servant and diplomat before becoming a cabinet minister in the coalition government, vowed that he would personally see to this.

Reacting to the broadcast comments by the breakaway Labour politician, Bune said: "Dr. Baba is talking about the 1997 Constitution yet he does not want to practice it.

"He is a hypocrite, because he should jump onto the bandwagon of people calling for the review of the constitution."

Bune denied statements circulated to the media that he was earmarked as Fiji's next prime minister if the Fiji Labour Party won the election.

* The general election is from August 25-September 1.

Title -- 3298 POLITICS: Vote Labour - have a coup, claims Baba Date -- 31 July 2001 Byline -- Mithleshni Gurdayal, Ana Tudrau, Josephine Prasad Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Daily Post (Fiji), 31/7/1 Copyright -- DP Status – Unabridged

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/  USP Journalism on the Fiji crisis (UTS host): http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/  USP Pasifik Nius stories on Scoop (NZ): http://www.scoop.co.nz/international.htm  Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook 

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