Thursday, April 09, 2009

Four Fiji parties miss talks, call in media

Four Fiji parties miss talks, call in media

Four of Fiji’s political parties are missing from key consultations with interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama today, apparently in defiance of strict pre-conditions that Bainimarama has asked the parties to adhere to, if they want to be part of the consultations.The four parties include Fiji’s largest political party, the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party (SDL), which had confirmed to Fijilive this morning it could not agree to the conditions, the National Federation Party (NFP), the United Peoples Party (UPP) and the National Vanua Tako Lavo (NVTL) Party.All four parties have instead called a press conference in the next hour where they are expected to elaborate on their conditions, relayed to Bainimarama in the past 24 hours.The developments could represent a major setback to the talks, aimed at building consensus among the leaders for a path on which to return Fiji to democratic rule.UPP leader Mick Beddoes, quiet on the issue since the letter was first publicised yesterday, told Fijilive today he would comment on his position at the press conference.Bainimarama in his letter to these political parties Tuesday said the parties had to agree to four pre-conditions - that electoral reforms do away with the communal voting system, not to interfere with national efforts to meet economic challenges, not to work with partisan media outlets, and commit to expediting the political process with honesty.Fijilive reporters at the meeting venue in Nasova, Suva confirmed the attendance of 22 political party representatives, minus representatives from the four parties.Among those attending was the Fiji Labour Party, whose leader Mahendra Chaudhry was Minister for Finance in the interim government last year. The meeting is expected to end this afternoon.

End of the road for 4 parties - 09/04/2009
The third Political Dialogue Forum has just started at the Nasova Police Academy in the last few minutes minus the leaders from the SDL, National Federation Party (NFP), United Peoples Party (UPP) and Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo Party.Speaking to Fijivillage before going into the forum this morning, interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama confirmed that the forum will go ahead without the four parties.There is an audio file attached to this story. Please
This is after the SDL, NFP, UPP and Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo Party had responded to the interim Prime Minister's letter where he had asked for commitments from them by 4pm yesterday. Bainimarama sought their commitment which include that they commit to electoral reforms which will do away with the communal representation and replace it with proportional representation, based on universally accepted principle of equal suffrage to ensure true parliamentary democracy.
The interim Prime Minister also wanted them to commit that they will not undermine national efforts to meet the economic challenges that have been brought about by the global economic crisis. They were also asked not to work with partisan media outlets and foreign countries to undermine national initiatives and efforts and for them to commit to expediting the political dialogue process with honesty.Bainimarama said the responses from the SDL, NFP, UPP and Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo were unsatisfactory.There is an audio file attached to this story.
When asked whether there is any hope for more dialogue with the four parties, Bainimarama stressed that they will no longer be part of the process.There is an audio file attached to this story.
Former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase had confirmed to Fijivillage that they received a phone call from the PM's office last night informing them that they would not be allowed to attend the meeting.Former Opposition Leader Mick Beddoes and NFP General Secretary Pramod Rae both confirmed that they received a phone call last night from the interim Prime Minister informing them not to attend the meet as well.

Four political parties out of talks
By MARY RAUTOThursday, - April 09, 2009

THE four political parties that were given conditional invites have been excluded from the political leaders meeting that got underway in Nasova an hour ago.
While opening the meeting today, interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua, National Federation, Vanua Tako Lavo and United People's Party were excluded because they failed to "become more nationally focused".
"We need leaders in Fiji who think about Fiji and her people, we do not need people who are driven by their own political survival or are already planning now as to how many seats they can win in the next election," he said.

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