Fiji PM Lashes Out At Opposition Over Boycott Of Parliamentary Opening

National Federation Party no-show labelled 'cheap political stunt' by Bainimarama

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Sept. 27, 2016) – The National Federation Party's decision to boycott the opening of the new parliamentary session by President Jioji Konrote has been labelled a "sham" and a "cheap political stunt" by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Speaking on the President's address in Parliament yesterday, Mr Bainimarama took a swipe at the party and its leader Professor Biman Prasad.

He said the action of the party was an insult to the Head of the State, Parliament and the nation. Mr Bainimarama said to top it off, the party refused to attend the Constitution Day celebrations.

"The leader of the NFP told Pacific Beat program on Radio Australia that Fiji Constitution Day was a sham," he said. "But Madam Speaker, the opening session of Parliament is not an ordinary session, it is a State occasion and a non-political event."

He said the session was the Head of State reminding MPs that there was a higher cause despite the political differences.

"It is the duty of every elected representative of Parliament to be present, yet rather then take their place for the solemn occasion, the NFP chose to stage a cheap political stunt in this opening session in a deliberate snub to the President, the Head of the Fijian State, our Parliament and the Fijian people.

"I noticed the NFP leader giving an interview in which he questioned the legitimacy of our Constitution and described our democracy as a sham."

In response, Prof Prasad said Mr Bainimarama wasted half of his speech attacking the NFP and its leadership, instead of focusing on issues.

"He even attacked a defenceless member in Roko Tupou Draunidalo, who was suspended for two years from Parliament because FijiFirst Government used its numerical majority to do so," Prof Prasad said.

He described the attack as "senseless".

"It was a senseless attack on a party that has survived simply because it has never shirked its founding principles for 53 years."

Fiji Times Online.
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