Fiji Labour Party: Sayed-Khaiyum Should Resign Over Fiji First Position

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Secretary of a political party can’t be Minister for Elections: Chaudhry

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 6, 2014) – The Fiji Labour Party has called on Minister for Elections, the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to resign after his appointment as the general secretary of the proposed Fiji First party.

Labour leader Mahendra Chaudhry said in a statement that Sayed-Khaiyum cannot continue to be the Minister for Elections after his appointment as it is a conflict of interest and abuse of office.

"Failure to do so will tantamount to abuse of office. It is also a case of conflict of interest," says Chaudhry.

"FLP also questions the injustice of these public officers being allowed under the regime’s Constitution to contest elections or to hold official positions in political parties while it forbids trade union officials who are not public officials at all, from doing so." Under Section 57 of the 2013 constitutions subsection 3 (g) the public office means "any office in any federation, congress, council or affiliation of trade unions (whether elected or appointed to that office and including any position or arrangement under which a person receives remuneration, salary, allowances or fees from any federation, congress, council or affiliation of Trade Unions.

Section 57(4) states that public office does not include the office of the Prime Minister, the office of a Minister, the office of the Deputy Speaker, the office of the Leader of Opposition or the office held by the Minister by virtue of his or her appointment as a minister.

"Such discriminatory treatment is totally abhorrent in any democratic society and I am surprised that the international community continues to support such unjust laws under the regime’s constitution.

"Trade union officials are not paid by the public purse nor are they performing any public duty. Why then are they barred from holding official positions in political parties or from contesting elections?" Chaudhry asked.

FijiLive understands that trade unionists are classified public office holders by government because they operate through the subs that workers pay them in order to be a member of the union.

The AG could not be reached for comments.

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