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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, June 4) – Fiji's President Ratu Josefa Iloilo has appointed United People's Party president Mick Beddoes as Leader of Opposition.

Beddoes' name was announced after Ratu Josefa sought legal advice on those members of parliament who are entitled to become Opposition Leader.

The UPP leader and the Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, both said they were entitled to the post.

Beddoes confirmed accepting the invitation from Presidents Office today. He said that in accepting the appointment he was mindful of the tremendous responsibility he and his colleague Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau would have to bear. He said they were confident that they were up for the challenge.

Beddoes said as a Leader of Opposition, he would do his utmost to shift the style of debate and exchange in Parliament from the adversarial and racial tone of the past. According to Beddoes there will be a more constructive and solution based debate in future.

He added that he will work with Chaudhry and the Prime Minister to maintain the positive momentum created by the formation of the multi-party cabinet. Beddoes is looking forward to the commencement of the new session of the Parliament.

Meanwhile, Chaudhry has accepted and congratulated Beddoes on his appointment. He said the 21 members of the FLP who are not in the multi-party Cabinet would continue to function as members of the Opposition

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase said Beddoes is the right choice for the post. He said Labour was now part of the multi-party cabinet and could not function as Opposition.

Chaudhry added that he will play a crucial part on the opposition side and assured that there would be no conflict of interest between the party and its members who are cabinet ministers in Qarase's multi-party Government

The House of Representatives sits tomorrow for the first time since Fiji's general elections last month.

On one side will be the newly elected multi-party Government while on the other side will be Opposition led by UPP's Mick Beddoes and Bernadette Rounds Ganilau.

Also present at the sitting will be President Ratu Josefa Iloilo and members of the Senate.

Each member of the Lower House and the Senate will be called upon to subscribe to the Oath of Affirmation of Allegiance following which the Speaker of the House will be elected.

June 5, 2006



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