SODELPA Leader, Viliame Gavoka says there is no truth in comments being circulated that he has said that he will not be able to work with People’s Alliance Leader Sitiveni Rabuka, and he also says thoughts of the family of the founder of the party like the late Laisenia Qarase will be considered before the SODELPA Management Board decides on the options.
While speaking in a press conference this afternoon on the talks to form a coalition government, Gavoka says they will make a decision over the next few days but before the 14 day deadline.
Gavoka says SODELPA is managed by a management board so whatever happens, the decision will be made by the 42 member management board.
SODELPA is now the kingmaker as they have the 3 crucial seats to either form a coalition government with the People’s Alliance/NFP who have 26 seats in total or the FijiFirst who also have 26 seats.
To form government, a coalition needs 28 seats or more.
Gavoka says their negotiation team is chaired by Anare Jale and a strong team of six.
He says their team met the FijiFirst and the People’s Alliance last night.
He says SODELPA’s working committee has gone back with the counter proposals and the two parties are coming back with that.
Gavoka also confirms that they have already met the National Federation Party.
He has denounced claims on social media that the deal has already been signed.
The SODELPA Leader also says people should move on from his interview before the general elections where he said that he cannot work with the People’s Alliance, as it is a different time now and they have to do what is in the best interest of the people.
The family of the late Prime Minister and founder of SODELPA, Laisenia Qarase has released a video where his son is calling on the leadership of SODELPA not to partner with the FijiFirst Party for the sake of the iTaukei, but to join The People's Alliance/National Federation Party coalition. He says their father went through a lot of challenges, which many people may not know, but the Qarase family knows it and are still feeling what he went through.
When asked on this, Gavoka says all this has to be considered by the management board of SODELPA.
Gavoka also stresses that their non-negotiable issues include the iTaukei policies in their manifesto, the education policy which includes the TELS forgiveness and tertiary education scholarships, and the setting up of a Fijian Embassy in Jerusalem.
Gavoka says it has always been a wish of the Christian community in Fiji to have our presence in the Holy Land.
He says SODELPA being close to the iTaukei people who are mostly Christians, wants to ensure that this happens.
He also makes it clear that they are not asking for a Christian state.
Gavoka also says they have policies for everyone and they are not pushing other people away.
He says when the needs of the iTaukei is talked about, it is sad to hear some people say it is exclusive.
According to section 67 of the Fijian Constitution, after a general election of members of Parliament, the Parliament shall be summoned to meet by the President no later than 14 days after the announcement of the results of the general election.
At the first meeting, the agenda of business shall include swearing-in of members, presided over by the Secretary-General to Parliament; the election and swearing-in of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker; in the event that the Prime Minister has not assumed office, the appointment of the Prime Minister by the members of Parliament; and the election of the Leader of the Opposition, presided over by the Speaker.
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