QARASE EMBRACES IDEA OF ETHNIC FIJIAN PARTY

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By ANA TUDRAU

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Jan. 6) - Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has welcomed suggestions by Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka to form a grand indigenous Fijian coalition.

Speaking to the FijiSUN yesterday, Mr Qarase said although difficult under the current political circumstances, this had always been his stand and that of his party.

"I have always supported the idea of a single Fijian political party, and then we can move on to include other ethnic members of the community," he said.

This, he said, might just be the right time for the leaders of Fijian political parties to talk about the possibility of a single party.

Mr Qarase said this would be good for the nation, as unity would contribute to strengthening attempts at reconciliation.

"Without unity, we are fragmented," he said.

Mr Rabuka had said his party would unite with other Fijian political parties, and they would be regarded as hypocrites if they continued to work with non-Fijian parties.

He cited the example in which the SVT helped the National Federation Party during the last by-election in Labasa.

Mr Rabuka explained that two ethnic groups were not ready to accept politics of a moderator yet, adding that Fijians needed to be honest and understand each other before aspiring for unity.

Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party leader, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, was reported to have agreed with comments made by Mr Rabuka, saying they believed in unity and since they had been working with the Government, all other Fijian political parties should do the same.

However, Fiji Labor Party’s Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi said that while Fijian unity was for Fijians to decide, the FLP was a multiracial party that would like to see members of all ethnic races in Fiji united.

January 6, 2004

FijiSUN: http://www.sun.com.fj/

 

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