FIJI LABOR PARTY ACCEPTS QARASE PORTFOLIOS

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 23) – The Fiji Labor Party has accepted changes made by Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase to the multi-party Cabinet line-up after a caucus meeting in Suva.

And they hope that the nine Fiji Labor Party ministers will be sworn in this afternoon, if the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo is available.

The Fiji Labor Party has also said it will do anything to make multi-party cabinet concept work.

"Whatever Qarase gives us we'll go with it," said Labor leader Mahendra Chaudhry, who has maintained he will remain in Opposition.

"We are disappointed at the changing of portfolios and because the three senators he brings in are not independent but Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua senators and should come from Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua's share of Cabinet seats.

"We doubt the legality of this move because the senators have not been sworn in to the Upper House. By right Labor as well should increase its quota. We don't want to continue with this irresponsible act because it will be a burden to taxpayers and the people of Fiji," Chaudhry said.

Labor Members of Parliament named in the Cabinet are: Minister of Environment Poseci Bune; Minister for Labor and Industrial Relations Krishna Datt; Minister for Curative Health Services Dr Gunasagaran Gounder; Minister for Agriculture Gyani Nand; Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi; Minister for Primary and Preventative Health Services Udit Narayan; Minister for Local Government and Urban Development Chaitanya Lakshman; Minister for Employment Opportunities and Productivity Felix Anthony; and Minister for Commerce and Industry Adi Sivia Tora.

May 23, 2006

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com

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