Former Fiji PM Steps Down As Labour Party Leader

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Mahendra Chaudhry held leadership post for 23 years

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 2, 2015) – The leader of Fiji's Labour Party and former prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, has decided to stand down from the leadership, a role which he has held for 23 years.

Mr Chaudhry has been involved in the party since its inception in 1985, and was elected prime minister in 1999, but was overthrown one year later in a coup led by George Speight.

After the 2006 coup, Mr Chaudhry joined Frank Bainimarama's interim government as finance minister, but resigned two years later.

The party failed to gain any seats in parliament at last year's election, and Mr Chaudhry was prevented from campaigning after he was convicted for breaching the Exchange Control Act.

Mr Chaudhry says it's not the end he would have liked to his career, but he feels the time is right to step down.

"I have led the party a long time, 23 of its 30 years in existence. But I think it's time also, I'm getting on in years, it's time that the party should seriously consider new leadership."

Mahendra Chaudhry says he will remain involved with the party to help the next leader.

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