NEW OPPOSITION LEADER APPOINTED IN FIJI

SUVA, Fiji (Oct. 31, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Fiji's President Ratu Josefa Iloilo has appointed the country's new opposition leader.

Mick Beddoes, the sole parliamentary member for the United General Party, succeeds National Federation Party member Prem Singh.

Singh lost his candidacy and parliamentary seat following a controversial court challenge by a rival Labour Party member, who contested his loss to Singh in last year's general election.

President Iloilo offered the opposition leader job to Beddoes after Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhary refused the president's offer a second time.

Chaudhary says accepting the position would have jeopardized his upcoming legal challenge against the composition of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's government.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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