Fiji Opposition NFP Members Consider Withdrawing From Parliament

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Leader Prasad frustrated by few resources, bias towards PM’s party

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan .19, 2016) – The leader of Fiji's opposition National Federation Party says any decision to withdraw from parliament won't be made lightly.

Biman Prasad says the party's members will this month consider whether its three MPs should leave parliament.

Dr Prasad says the opposition is frustrated by the lack of momentum in parliament, which was restarted after elections in 2014.

He says his party is constantly hamstrung in its ability to carry out its functions by restrictions and a lack of resources for the opposition, and what he considers a bias towards the governing Fiji First party.

However, Dr Prasad says a withdrawal could further erode the opposition, and any decision won't be made until party members and the other opposition party, Sodelpa, have been consulted.

"There are always pros and cons to any particular action, and this action that the working committee will consider is going to be taking into account the pros and cons, and obviously we work very well with the other opposition party so any decision will of course be discussed."

Dr Prasad says the party's committee will meet on January 31 when members will decide on its future, which could involve the party's three MPs withdrawing from parliament.

"The political parties participated in the election and the hope was that once we had a parliament, whoever was in government would be able to engage with the parties in opposition. Really, it's time to take stock, to review the way in which we want to participate in this so-called democracy."


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