Fiji Former PM Rabuka Considering Standing In 2014 Elections

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Coup leader tells New Zealand TV if chiefs, people want him to run he will

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, July 1, 2013) – The leader of Fiji’s first two coups, former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, has said in New Zealand that he isn’t ruling out standing in the 2014 elections.

Mr Rabuka has previously back home in Fiji deflected suggestions that he still has political ambitions.

But Mr Rabuka confirmed in an interview on New Zealand TV3′s "The Nation" that he has. Mr Rabuka is in New Zealand to speak at the University of Otago Foreign Policy School in Dunedin.

"I believe God doesn’t believe in retirement," he said.

"I am still available to contest if my chiefs and my people want me to run as their representative."

He said he would most likely be a member of parliament representing a province if he re-entered the political sphere, but did not rule out a prime ministerial bid.

SANCTIONS

Mr Rabuka also said New Zealand and Australia’s sanctions on Fiji were punishing the innocent.

"They’re being felt by the people who have no say in what is going on," he said.

Mr Rabuka also said the sanctions were being particularly felt by the people in the army

"They’re just slogging along and they need medical treatment in New Zealand and Australia, they’re not allowed to come in.

"So we have to take them all the way to India.

LOST MANA

He said that because of the sanctions New Zealand and Australia had lost a lot of mana.

He added: "If we have elections and Australia and New Zealand want to come in, we have the right to say where were you when we needed you?"

Excerpts from his views in the TV3 programme:

ON non-racial voting:

"I agree as long as you have a place for the races. You have to accept the races as a fact of communities and societies, and you have to deal with them on a race by race case."

ON being pressed by the interviewer about the influence of Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum:

"He’s higher profile, because he’s there facing the cameras, facing the media more occasions than the Prime Minister. Maybe he’s at home at the time, more of the time when Frank is away negotiating overseas."

ON who’s running Fiji:

"Frank is still running the country, with his Cabinet."

ON his own aspirations to lead again:

"Aspiring to be the political leader of Fiji now before the election is unrealistic. First of all you’ve gotta get into parliament and get in with a new big base of support, to be able to go and lead. But you can be the voice of the people in parliament."

[PIR editor’s note: During Rabuka’s trip to New Zealand he also addressed a group of diplomats and scholars at Otago University where Radio New Zealand International reported he said that "Fiji is turning into a nation of parasites because of a culture of spoon-feeding and vote buying….[Additionally he said that] there is increased political polarisation, and a nationalistic wave because of the weakening of indigenous institutions and customary values."]

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