Sunday, May 25, 2008

Political leaders resist PM threat

Political leaders resist PM threat
24 MAY 2008

Political leaders who are not members of the interim Government say they will not be forced to support the Charter just so Fiji can return to elections in March.

The stand by the leaders of the former ruling Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua, National Federation Party and the United People’s Party come after interim PM Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama threatened to call off elections if there is no popular support for the Charter.

NFP general secretary Pramod Rae said they will not support the Charter and the Interim PM cannot force them to do so.

“He (Bainimarama) can’t blackmail and intimidate people in supporting the Charter,” he said.

“I don’t think this kind of tactic will work.”

UPP’s Mick Beddoes said Bainimarama needs to understand that the more he threatens the people, the less likely they are to support him and his charter.

“Dialogue, not threats Mr. Interim Prime Minister, will help resolve all our problems,” he said.

SDL leader Laisenia Qarase said Bainimarama’s comment was “unfortunate”.

“In view of the dialogue between us, it would be good if we come to the discussions without any preconditions.

“I hope he will change and be more flexible. There is a big difference between himself and the rest of Fiji on the Charter, and we need to close that gap.”

Qarase said he is willing to be involved in dialogue that includes all parties represented in the last Parliament.

“That forum is important for discussion of issues that will move the country forward. The Charter won’t.”

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