SDL Constitution

    CONSTITUTION OF THE “SOQOSOQO DUAVATA NI LEWENIVANUA” (SDL) 
  1. NAME :
    The name of the Party shall be the “Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua” (SDL) 
  1. ADDRESS :
    The registered office of the Party shall be 66 McGregor Rd, Suva or such other address as the Management Board shall determine. 
  1. PARTY SYMBOL :
    The Party Symbol shall be the white dove of peace with an olive branch. 
  1. VISION & MISSION:
    The SDL is committed to the promotion of peace, stability and economic prosperity.  The Party will at all times pursue a policy of dialogue and negotiation to achieve peaceful solutions to Fiji’s challenges.  It totally rejects the notion that such solutions can be reached through acts of violence and force, intimidation and illegality. 
    Fiji’s progress must be founded on the rule of law, parliamentary democracy, equity and social Justice for all communities, in accordance with the Constitution and the principles of its Compact. 
    The SDL firmly believes Fiji has the potential to become harmonious, united and prosperous, taking strength from its cultural and ethnic diversity, and faith in God. 
    This Constitution affirms our faith in Fiji and our vision of what the country can accomplish through the freely expressed will of its people and their energy and talents.   
5.0      AIMS &  OBJECTS : 
    The aims and objects of the Party shall be: 
    1. to secure the greatest number of Parliamentary seats in General Elections so as to enable  the Party to form the Government and provide political leadership for the Republic of the Fiji Islands which reflect the multiracial nature of Fiji society;

    1. to establish a peaceful, caring and prosperous nation;

    1. to unite the citizens of Fiji and to represent them and their interests fully and with integrity; 

    1. to uphold Christian values and principles and to respect the religious beliefs and values of non-Christians in accordance with section 35 of the Constitution of the Republic of the Fiji Islands.

    1. to protect, enhance and promote the economic, social and human development of all communities and to secure their future in the Fiji Islands;

    1. to associate with and /or coalesce with other Political Parties in order to create an association / alliance for national unity and to promote nation-building;

    1. to provide the nation with good, honest, dedicated and competent government and to serve it with devotion;

    1. to facilitate and foster positive economic and social development, sustained economic growth and sustained development of all our communities;

    1. to pursue foreign policies through bilateral, multilateral  and international relations which facilitate, foster and contribute to Fiji’s economic, social and human development;

    1. to consolidate the rule of law, an independent judiciary and protect the fundamental rights and freedom of every citizen;

    1. to select and support candidates for election to the Parliament of the Fiji Islands and the City and Town Councils throughout the Republic;
                
6.0   ORGANISATIONAL  STRUCTURE : 
    1. the  Organizational Structure of the Party shall be as follows :
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    1. The Branches will report to their respective Province Based Councils on matters relating to their branches and other Party matters

    1. The Province Based Council will communicate to the Management Board through the National Director
  
7.0   PARLIAMENTARY   STRUCTURE : 
    1. The Parliamentary Structure of the Party shall be as  follows :

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   The Party Whip shall be appointed by the Parliamentary Leader.
  
            1. 8.0   PARTY  STRUCTURE :

    1. A branch of the Party may be formed in any village or settlement or in any town or city or area of a town or city in Fiji.  Each branch will elect its own office bearers, which shall include a President, Secretary, Treasurer and a Committee of up to 8 members which should include a Women’s Wing representative and two Youths: one female, and one male.
    2. A branch cannot be formed unless there are more  than 50 financial members in its register of which no less than 25% (13) are women on approval by the Management Board.
    3. The formation of any branch shall have the approval of the Management Board on the recommendation of the relevant Council.
    4. Each village or settlement or town or city branch will report regularly to an    applicable Province Based Council which will report directly to the Management Board. 

    The affairs of the Party will be administered by the Management Board which will be comprised of those persons set out in Clause 19. 
9.0    MEMBERSHIP : 
  1. The membership of the Party shall be open to all Fiji citizens of voting age.

  1. There shall be a category of associate members who are non citizens but   who have strong connections to Fiji and are committed to the principles of the Party and would like to contribute to its promotion and development.
  
    10.0    REGISTER OF MEMBERS : 
      (a) All the individuals who join the Party shall be duly registered in the register of members to be maintained by the National Secretary. 
11.0     MEMBERSHIP  FEE : 
      (a) The Party shall levy a common annual membership fee of $2 a year for all members of which $1 shall remain in the Branch and $1 shall be handed over by the Branch Treasurer to the National Treasurer by the 1st of June every year. 
12.0    PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENTS : 
      (a) There shall be a President of the Party who shall be elected by a majority vote of the General Assembly who shall serve for a term of three (3) years and who may be elected for one further term of three (3) years, before becoming ineligible to stand again for the role. 
      (b) There shall be two Vice-Presidents of the Party one of whom shall be a woman. Vice Presidents are elected by a majority vote of the General Assembly and shall serve for a term of three (3) years and they may be elected for a further term of three (3) years, before becoming ineligible to stand again for the role. 
13.0    PARLIAMENTARY LEADER : 
    There shall be a Parliamentary Leader elected by a majority vote of the Members of the Party in the Parliament.  
14.0  PARTY LEADER 
    1. There shall be a Party Leader who shall lead the Party during the next General Elections who is expected to become Prime Minister and Parliamentary Leader following a successful General Elections and the Party forms the Government with or without the support of other political parties and / or individual elected members, subject to him or her being supported by the majority of elected Party members in the new Parliament.

    1. The Party Leader is appointed by the General Assembly at the recommendation of the Management Board when there is a vacancy for the post either through the retirement, resignation or the death of the Parliamentary Leader in the office or through a dissolution of Parliament subject to section 2 (c) or for any other reason as determined by the General Assembly, the Parliamentary Leader is unfit or incapable of leading the Party into the next General Elections.

    1. The incumbent Parliamentary Leader of the Party who becomes Prime Minister when the Party forms the Government is normally expected to lead the Party into the next General Elections following a normal dissolution of Parliament other than for reasons covered in section 2(b) above which requires the appointment of a new Party Leader.

    1. The appointment of a new Party Leader shall take place no less than three months before the next General Elections.
   
15.0    NATIONAL DIRECTOR : 
      (a) There shall be a National Director of the Party who shall be appointed from time to time by the Management Board on such terms and conditions as it shall determine.
      (b) The National Director shall be responsible for the day to day operational management and conduct of the Party which shall include but not be limited to the following :  
      1. operations  of the Party’s National Secretariat and any regional offices established throughout Fiji;

      1. ultimate  responsibility for the efficient and proper functioning of the voluntary and professional organizational structures of the Party;

      1. responsibility   for the efficient management and outcomes of the National Secretariat;

      1. responsibility    for maintaining the financial viability of the Party and assisting in building the Party’s financial resource base;

      1. responsibility  for active political involvement with the Parliamentary Party including provision of leadership advice on tactics, strategy and planning;

      1. to assist in the planning and implementation of political campaigns and communication strategies including pre selection criteria and processes;

      1. responsibility  for regular contact and advice to the Parliamentary Leader and the Senior Parliamentary Front Benches on policy, strategy and political issues and on other matters relevant to the Party.

      ©      The National Director shall be the spokesperson for the Party in the public arena and in the media in relation to all political matters subject to the guidelines and directions the Management Board may set from time to time  
      (d)    The National Director shall be responsible for establishing and maintaining     effective relationships and communications between the National Secretariat, Province Based Councils, Province  Based Office Bearers, Branch Office Bearers and Branch Offices 
16.0    NATIONAL SECRETARY 
    The Management Board shall appoint a National Secretary of the Party, which position may or may not be remunerated, who shall be responsible for carrying out such duties as shall be conferred upon the National Secretary by the National Director, with the approval of the Management Board, which duties shall include but shall not be limited to :  
      1. establishment and maintenance of accurate and current branch and member registers, administrative books and records, secretarial papers, files and other matters relating to the Party’s membership and branch structure;

      1. attendance at meetings of the Management Board, and at Council and Branch meetings as and when required for purposes of such secretarial functions from time to time including the recording of proceedings in a Party and Branch book.

      1. undertaking such administration and organizational tasks as are required from time to time including the planning and staffing of sub-committees, liaison with the Women’s Wing and the Youth Wing of the Party.

      1. Oversee the conduct of Branch and Council elections and ensure that the operations and the management of Council and Branch monies and assets are done in accordance with Party rules.
  
17.0     NATIONAL TREASURER : 
      (a) There shall be a National Treasurer of the Party appointed for a three year term by the Management Board. The Treasurer may be remunerated at the discretion of the Board and shall, in conjunction with the National Director be responsible for the following :  
      1. preparation of the Annual Budget of the Party.

      1. ensuring integrity in the operation of the bank accounts and finances of the Party;

      1. maintaining accurate and current books of accounts including income and expenditure statements for submission to the Management Board on a monthly basis;

      1. liaising with the Auditor of the Party to ensure audited annual accounts are available to the Party;

      1. preparation of monthly statements reflecting the financial resources of the Party and its Branches and ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of this information on an ongoing basis.

      (b) The National Treasurer shall be responsible for such other financial aspects of the Party as shall be determined from time to time by the National Director and the Management Board, which may include assisting in the implementation of fund-raising activities and other such initiatives approved by the National Director. 
18.0    GENERAL ASSEMBLY : 
    1. There shall be a General Assembly of the Party comprising the following members :

      1. Party President
      2. 2 Vice Presidents 
      3. Parliamentary Leader
      4. 1 Parliamentarian representative elected by the Parliamentary Committee
      5. One Women’s Wing representative elected by the General Assembly
        (vi) two Youth representatives of one male and one female elected by the               General Assembly
        (vii) 4 delegates nominated from each of the 16 Councils and appointed by the General Assembly 
    1. The General Assembly shall be the governing body of the Party and shall determine the platform of the Party from time to time, but shall not have control  over :
      1. the day to day conduct of the Party which shall be under the responsibility of the Management Board.
      1. the internal affairs of the Parliamentary Party
      (c) Voting Rights of the General Assembly Members shall be limited to those qualified under (a) above. 
      (d) This Constitution can only be amended by a two thirds majority vote of the General Assembly Members provided that in any motion to change any provision of this Constitutional at least 30 days notice must have been given to all voting members of the General Assembly of the full details of any proposed amendment. 
        
19.0     MANAGEMENT BOARD : 
      (a) There shall be a Management Board of the Party comprising the following Members : 
      1. the Party President;
      2. the two Party Vice-Presidents;
      3. the Parliamentary Leader
      4. 1 Parliamentarian representative elected by the Parliamentary Committee
      5. 16 members elected by the General Assembly representing the 16 Councils
      6. one Women’s  Wing representative elected by the General Assembly
      7. two Youth representatives of which one should be a male and the other a female, elected by the General Assembly.
      (b) The Management Board of the Party shall be responsible for conducting the business, administrative and organizational affairs of the Party in all aspects which responsibility shall include but not be limited to the following :  
      1. establishing and implementing the organizational structure of the Party;
      1. identification and employment of all staff needed for the operations of the Party including appointment of a National Director of the Party;
      1. establishing and providing for the administrative needs of the Party in all respects including the leasing of office premises from which to operate the National Secretariat;
      1. facilitating and assisting the Party to do all such things as shall be necessary to ensure the financial viability of the Party;
      1. supporting the Parliamentary Party in every way possible including the planning and implementation of political campaigns, communications strategies pre selection procedures and programs and preparation of all Party publications;

    1. The quorum for a meeting of the Management Board shall be 51% of the total number of members of the Board
  
20.0      EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: 
      (a) The Management Board shall appoint an Executive Committee which shall consist of the following Members : -
        
      1. the Party President;
      2. the Parliamentary Leader or his nominee (who must be a Party Member);
      3. the two Vice Presidents of the Party;
      4. one additional member appointed by the Management Board                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

      (b) The Executive Committee shall meet as and when required but at least once a month   and shall deal with those operational and administrative matters and decisions which  are delegated to it by the Management Board; 
      © A quorum for a meeting of the Executive Committee shall be  four (4) members which must include the Parliamentary Leader or his nominee.
       
21.0     MEETINGS OF THE GENERAL  ASSEMBLY: 
      (a) Meetings of the General Assembly may be held from time to time as summoned by the Management Board.  These meetings shall be called Special  Meetings of the General Assembly.  The quorum for the meeting shall be 100 financial members and representations from 50% of registered  Councils. 
      (b) The Annual Meeting of the General Assembly shall be held no later than six (6) months from the end of the financial year, that is, December each year.  At each Annual Meeting the following matters will be considered : 
      1. confirmation of Minutes of the last Annual Meeting;
      2. adoption of the audited annual accounts and the report of the President;
      3. election of Office-bearers;
      4. appointment of Auditors;
      5. motions; and
      6. any other business approved by the President.
  
22.0    PARTY POLICY MANIFESTO AND REVIEW COMMITTEE: 
      (a) The Management Board through the active involvement and participation of the National Director shall direct the preparation of  a Party  Manifesto which shall represent the Policies of the Party prior to each General Election and at such other times as it is considered politically or organizationally appropriate for such a Policy Document to be developed. 
      (b) The Management Board through the National Director shall establish a Policy Committee which shall consist of representatives of the Management Board together with other persons who are co-opted onto the Policy Committee by the Management Board, which Committee shall have the responsibility for the preparation and presentation of the Policy Manifesto draft to the Management Board. 
                    © The Management Board shall update the General Assembly on the major policy initiative of the Party from time to time. 
23.0    PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE: 
      (a) There shall be a Parliamentary Committee of five (5) members formed which shall include Members of the Parliamentary Party nominated by the Parliamentary Leader and it shall include such other Parliamentary Party Members as shall be co-opted onto the Committee from time to time by the Management Board. 
      (b) The Parliamentary Committee shall have responsibility for planning the Parliamentary timetable, the legislative agenda, the ordering of Parliamentary business, and such other responsibilities as it is given from time to time by the Management Board. 
      © The Parliamentary Committee shall meet at the beginning of each Parliamentary year and at such other times as shall be considered to be necessary and appropriate in order to enable a strategic plan for the year to be developed and in order to enable planning for each session of Parliament and the establishment of the Parliamentary Time Table. 
24.0    PROVINCE BASED COUNCILS: 
      (a) The Management Board will be responsible for the setting up of Province Based Councils.  The Party shall have 16 Councils to look after Party business. 
    (b)       That 16 Councils  be formed along provincial boundaries  as follows:
      Bua,  Kadavu, Lau/Rotuma, Lomaiviti, Macuata, Nadroga/Navosa, Naitasiri/Nasinu, Namosi/Serua, Ra, Rewa/Suva, Ba East, Ba West,Tailevu North, Tailevu South, Cakaudrove East ,and Cakaudrove West. 
      © The Councils shall form their own branches within their areas under the guidance of the National Secretary. 
25.0    PROVINCE BASED COUNCIL OFFICIALS: 
      (a) Each Council shall elect the following office bearers: a President, Vice President,  Secretary,  Treasurer, and a Committee of up to 10 members inclusive of one Women’s Wing and two Youth representatives one of whom should be a female and the other, a male.
    (b) Each   Council shall meet at least once every two months. 
      © The National Secretary shall oversee all Council elections to ensure they are done properly in accordance with the rules and procedures   which shall be issued by   him   after their approval by the Management Board. These rules shall govern the operations of the Councils and Branches and the management of their monies and assets. 
26.0    TRUSTEES: 
      (a) Any property of the Party, including real estate, securities, bank accounts and deposits or any other assets beneficially owned by the Party shall be registered in the name of, and shall be operated under the control of the Trustees of the Party from time to time. 
      (b) The Trustees of the Party shall be : - 
      1. the Party President;
      2. the Party Treasurer;
      3. the Parliamentary Leader or his nominee;
      4. a nominee of the Management Board;
      5. the National Director

      © The Treasurer plus any two of the Trustees shall have power from time to time to operate the bank accounts of the Party; 
      (d) In the event that a person holds the office entitling him to the position of Trustee and his nomination for the role is withdrawn by the Management Board or he ceases to occupy one of the other entitling roles, that person shall cease to be a Trustee and shall play no further role in acting as a Trustee of the Party and furthermore shall do all such acts, attend to matters and things as shall be necessary to vest any of the Party property including the Party bank account in the name of any new Trustee so appointed or nominated. 
27.0     SDL WOMEN’S WING: 
      (a) There shall be a SDL Women’s Wing which shall sponsor an annual  SDL Women’s Forum as well as promote the interest of women in the work of the Party. 
      (b) Members of the SDL Women’s Wing shall consist of women qualified to be members of the SDL Party. 
      © For the purpose of conducting and co-coordinating activities of the SDL Women’s Wing, there shall be a SDL Women’s Wing Executive (SWWE) which shall consist of :  
      1. two  SDL Women’s Wing  delegates each, elected by each of the 16 Councils
      2. two delegates elected  by the Management Board.
      3. the immediate past President of the SDL Women’s Wing.
      4. a member of the Parliamentary Party nominated by the Parliamentary  Leader

      (d) The SDL Women’s Wing Executive shall elect annually from amongst its members :  
      1. a President; and
      2. a Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and two members who shall constitute the office bearers of the SDL Women’s Wing Executive.

    1. The SDL Women’s Wing Executive shall meet at least once every two months.

    1. The SDL Women’s Wing shall hold an Annual General Meeting within four (4) months at the end of each financial year and shall prepare an Annual Report for submission to the annual meeting of the General Assembly through the National Director.
  
28.0    SDL YOUTH MOVEMENT:  
      (a) There shall be a SDL Youth Movement which would   convene a SDL Youth Forum twice a year which would be attended by Youth delegates from all the 16 Councils and their branches throughout Fiji under the organization of the SDL Youth Movement Executive in accordance with the Party rules. Such rules and procedures would be  approved by   the Management Board and  issued and overseen by the National Secretary  
      (b) Members of the SDL Youth Movement shall be not less than 21 years nor more than 30 years 
      (c) For the purpose of conducting and coordinating activities of the SDL Youth Movement, there shall be a SDL Youth Movement Executive   which shall consisting of :  
      1. two SDL Youth delegates  elected by each of the 16 Councils
      2. two delegates elected  by the Management Board;
      3. the immediate past President of the SDL Youth Movement
      4. a member of the  Parliamentary Party nominated by the Parliamentary Leader.
    1. The   SDL Youth Movement Executive shall elect annually from amongst its Members :
      1. a President; and
      1. a Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and two members who shall constitute the Executive office bearers of the SDL Youth  Movement.
    1. The  SDL Youth Movement Executive shall meet at least once every two months.
    1. With the approval of the Management Board, the Executive of the SDL Youth Movement shall determine the venue and agenda of its Youth Forums which would meet twice yearly. And one such meeting should immediately precede the annual meeting of the General Assembly.
    1. The SDL Youth Movement shall prepare an Annual Report each year for submission to the annual meeting of the General Assembly through the National Director.
  
29.0 AUDIT : 
      (a) The Party shall cause its accounts to be audited at least once every year by a certified auditor. 
      (b) The Management Board shall, as soon as practicable, but not later than six (6) months after the end of the financial year, submit to the General Assembly an annual report on its activities during the year, together with two certified copies of the audited financial statements of the Party and the auditor’s report for that year for approval by the Annual Meeting of the General Assembly. 
30.0     FINANCE : 
            The funds of the Party shall be raised by all or any of the following means : 
    1. entrance fees;
    2. annual membership fees;
    3. gifts, grants and donations; and
    4. income from any other source.
     
31.0     ASSOCIATION WITH OTHER PARTIES OR GROUPS : 
      (a) In the interest of national unity, the Party may establish, and association with another Party/Parties in the interest of fostering peaceful co-existence and cooperation for the purpose of contesting national and local government elections.  The party may contest elections in association with such Party/Parties or such Parties may contest elections as separate entities but under the wider umbrella of the Party.  Alternatively, the Party may associate with an established Party to contest the elections.  The Party may also coalesce with any other Political Party or Parties, after the elections, to form a government, provided there is agreement on policies and programs. 
      (b) The Party may establish fraternal relations with a wide range of organizations and groups in the country for the purpose of widening support for its policies.  The Party may also establish fraternal relations with Political Parties, organizations and groups in overseas countries. 
32.0     CANDIDATE SELECTION : 
    1. Before a General Election or by-election or an election for membership of a City or Town Council, the Management Board   shall appoint a selection Committee which shall consult with relevant Council(s) as well as carry out appropriate interviews of prospective candidates to determine the most suitable candidates in terms of the selection criteria that shall be determined by the Management Board.

    1.   This is to ensure that the selection procedures are fair and transparent, and with a view of arriving at the most suitable candidate(s) for the Party for endorsement by the Management Board.
  
33.0    MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT : 
      (a) Members of the Parliamentary Party and Party Senators shall execute a code of allegiance and conduct to the Party wherein each member undertakes the following :  
        (i) a commitment to the policies and procedures of the Parliamentary Party as determined by the Party from time to time; 
        (ii) a commitment to abide by the rule of this Constitution; 
        (iii) a commitment that in the event of a member determining to cross the floor or vote against the Party’s agreed or expressed position on a particular issue within the Parliament, the Member shall resign from the Party; 
        (iv) to deduct a minimum of $50 per fortnight (or such other amount as the Management Board shall determine from time to time) from their salary to go towards the administration and finances of the Party. 
      (b) Any Member of Parliament who crosses the floor or goes against the Party’s agreed or expressed position on an issue in Parliament and who does not resign from the Party as a result of his/her actions may be expelled from the Party by a decision of the Management Board. 
   34.0    DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES : 
    1. The Management Board is empowered with the full authority of this Constitution to institute a full investigation of any member who is accused of misconduct where that misconduct has brought or will bring the Party into disrepute, or where the misconduct includes a breach of this Constitution or any rules promulgated by the Party from time to time.

    1. Any member accused of misconduct has the right to be informed in writing the nature  of the charges being brought against him or her  and be given the  opportunity to  respond to the charges within a reasonable time as well as his or her right to be represented by another member of the Party.

    1. The Management Board would investigate the allegations against the member and lay the results of investigation before a three member Disciplinary Committee appointed from outside the Management Board of which one member should have a legal background.   

    1. The Disciplinary  Committee  in considering the case shall have full powers to either:    
      1. dismiss the complaint;
      2. reprimand the member concerned
      3. suspend the member for a period;
      4. expel the member from the Party; or
      5. take any other action it considers appropriate.

      (e) Any member who has been disciplined or expelled as a result of a decision of the Disciplinary Committee shall have the right of appeal against such decision to the General Assembly.  The decision of the General Assembly shall be final and binding.  
35.0     AMENDMENTS : 
      (a) This Constitution may be amended by the General Assembly in accordance with the provision of paragraph 17 (d) above. 
36.0   DISSOLUTION : 
      (a) The Party may be dissolved only by resolution of the General Assembly supported by at least 75 per cent of those eligible to vote and present at a meeting called to consider the resolution.
      (b)        On dissolution, any surplus assets, after payment of all liabilities ,shall be donated to another  organization.