SODELPA General Secretary, Emele Duituturaga says that their constitution states that the primary role of the party leader is to lead the party into the next general elections and the Opposition Leader continues to lead the party in parliament.
When questioned if making Viliame Gavoka the Leader of Opposition will be an area of discussion, Duituturaga says it will not be.
She says the role of the Opposition Leader is very specific to the parliament and the opposition office only.
Meanwhile new SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka says he will not be vying for the Opposition Leader position but if he is elected, he will accept it.
Gavoka says this will need to be agreed to by the SODELPA caucus and they should be very clear on the role that they will be playing.
Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka says this decision has to be decided by a vote in parliament.
Rabuka says if a member of opposition decides to move a new name they can do that in parliament.
He says if it is voted in by the majority that they should have a new Opposition Leader then he will accept it.
President Jioji Konrote will address parliament tomorrow.
Newly elected SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka and Deputy Leader Filimoni Vosarogo say they believe that their different constituencies will deliver them the votes to win the 2022 general elections.
This comes after Fijivillage asked them if they were confident to bring in the same amount of votes as the former leader Sitiveni Rabuka in the last elections.
Gavoka says they will not be having national candidates as it has caused a lot of duplication in their efforts.
Speaking after the party AGM today, the newly elected leader had stressed to supporters that there will be no more factions but for them to focus on issues.
Gavoka says a lot of people want to join SODELPA but because of the factions, it is hard for people to join the party.
Meanwhile, the newly elected Deputy Leader Filimoni Vosarogo says his job is to make sure that the right strategies are implemented and they believe in their ability to pull the strings of the party together.
SODELPA'S Caretaker Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka and his group have walked out of the party's AGM being held in Lami.
This is after Rabuka raised concerns that he does not agree with the interview process for Party Leader and Deputy Leader.
SODELPA MPs, Salote Radrodro, Adi Litia Qionibaravi, Simione Rasova and Ratu Suliano Matanitobua walked out with Rabuka.
SODELPA President Ratu Epenisa Cakobau raised the issue why Rabuka was raising this now as he had already publicly said that he thought the process was well run.
Rabuka told Fijivillage that he is leaving the SODELPA AGM to go and inform his chief Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu of what has transpired during the meeting.
Rabuka says that he is on his way to relate to Ratu Naiqama about the tabua and the yaqona that was presented to him.
He says that they have covered the part of the AGM where he was involved that included him submitting his report for the last two years.
Rabuka says a question was raised about the Interview panel but was not allowed to progress any further.
He says those that asked were told that they were not constitutionally allowed to ask.
Rabuka says this question was then ruled out by the Party President who was also the chair.
SODELPA MP Viliame Gavoka has been accepted as the new party leader in the AGM.
Lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo has been accepted as the deputy leader in the AGM.
Sitiveni Rabuka had accepted a tabua presented by the party's youth on behalf of Party President, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau earlier today.
The tabua was presented by the Vice President of the SODELPA Youth asking Rabuka traditionally to give his blessings and support to the party.
Meanwhile Viliame Gavoka has been accepted as Party Leader and Filimoni Vosarogo has been endorsed as the new Deputy Leader in the party AGM in Lami today.
21 members of the Management Board voted for Gavoka to be the Party Leader while 20 voted for Caretaker Leader yesterday.
Legend FM also received confirmation that 21 board members voted for Vosarogo while 20 voted for Lynda Tabuya.
Ratu Epenisa Cakobau did not cast a vote and oversaw the elections.
Some of the party MPs like Lynda Tabuya, Inosi Kuridrani, Ro Filipe Tuisawau, Salote Radrodro and Jese Saukuru who were present during the meeting yesterday did not like the outcome of the appointment.
They had questioned why they needed a new leader when Rabuka had brought in more votes than anyone else in the party in the 2018 general elections.
Other MPs like Mikaele Leawere and Aseri Radrodro say it's time for a change and they believe in the new appointment.
Ratu Epenisa Cakobau has also made it clear that they will support the people who will be officially announced as Leader and Deputy Leader today.
SODELPA parliamentarian, Viliame Gavoka has been elected as the next SODELPA Leader while lawyer, Filimoni Vosarogo is the new Deputy Leader.
FijiVillage has received confirmation that 21 members of the SODELPA Management Board voted for Gavoka while 20 members voted for Caretaker Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka.
Vosarogo also got 21 votes while Lynda Tabuya got 20 votes.
Ratu Epenisa thanks Rabuka for his contribution towards the party
SODELPA President Ratu Epenisa Cakobau has thanked Caretaker Leader Sitiveni Rabuka for his contribution to the party in 2014 and 2018, but he says the Management Board has spoken and decided on who will lead the party to the 2022 general elections.
Ratu Epenisa says the selection was democratic and it shows that the party is intact and in good spirits to contest the 2022 general elections.
He says they will be revealing the names of their selected party leader and deputy party leader during their Annual General Meeting tomorrow.
Ratu Epenisa says they will support the party leader regardless of who it may be.
Rabuka got the second highest votes totalling 77,040 after FijiFirst Leader, Voreqe Bainimarama who got 167,732 votes in the 2018 general elections.
The SODELPA AGM will be held tomorrow.
The SODELPA Management Board meeting is underway in Suva, and there are clear indications coming through at the moment that there will be no interviews conducted with the candidates for the Party Leader and Deputy Leader positions by the board.
As the meeting continues, one of the top contenders to lead SODELPA, Viliame Gavoka has said before the meet that he has preferred this process as he went through the Management Board controlled interview in 2016.
Gavoka says this Interview Panel asked some probing questions while the previous one open to all Management Board members was a little limiting and did not have the depth of what he went through this time.
He says in 2016, some Management Board members targeted him for being the father-in-law of Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Gavoka says he was surprised by the manner in which those questions were asked in 2016.
He stresses that family is family however he was, is and will always be loyal to SODELPA.
Fijivillage has received information that the Management Board will discuss the outcome of the report of recruitment agency, Pacific People and the Interview Panel.
A vote is then expected to be taken for the Party Leader and Deputy Leader position.
SODELPA had earlier agreed to a process to ensure the recruitment of the Party Leader has to be done by a nationally recognised recruitment process.
The executives led by SODELPA President, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau believe the best process was to have an Interview Panel and a recruitment agency to oversee the interview process. The Chairperson of the Interview Panel was Professor Tupeni Baba.
SODELPA’s Caretaker Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, Viliame Gavoka, Aseri Radrodro and Ro Filipe Tuisawau have been interviewed for the Party Leader position.
Aseri Radrodro, Lynda Tabuya, Filimoni Vosarogo and Ro Filipe Tuisawau were also interviewed for the Deputy Leader post. The 42 members of the Management Board are expected to vote for the Leader and Deputy Leader based on the recommendation today.
SODELPA parliamentarian, Mosese Bulitavu is not present in the meeting.
Bulitavu does not agree with the process and maintains that it is unconstitutional to get an Interview Panel and recruitment agency to conduct the interviews with the candidates as the Management Board has to be present during that process.
He also says Professor Tupeni Baba was only put in the panel to get specific people appointed, and he maintains it is not a neutral process.
Bulitavu says this is evident after Professor Baba also said that some people within SODELPA have to be removed.
Bulitavu says he and 13 other management board members have already indicated to Ratu Epenisa Cakobau that they will take legal action if the Management Board does not conduct the final interviews today.
Bulitavu who had applied for the Deputy Leader position also refused to attend the earlier interview conducted by the panel.
Professor Baba maintains that he is a professional and not against any candidate who was interviewed. He also says he was part of the SODELPA set up from the beginning and does not operate like Bulitavu.
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