Opposition Leader Rabuka offers olive branch to Bainimarama

Selita Bolanavanua

Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka has appealed to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to accept his offer as ‘Leader of the Loyal Opposition’ in the Fijian Parliament.

Speaking in the Debating Chamber on November 30, 2018, he said, “The two of us as coup leaders of 1987 and 2006 should work together to give back to the people of Fiji, the Fijians, a country that they can all be proud of, a land of hope and glory to endure what are befalls.”

Working together

He assured that the Opposition parties would be working together with the Government so that the Fijian people get the best out of the House of Representatives.

“We will continue to hold the Government accountable, as is the duty of the Loyal Opposition and offer the people a view of the alternative government,” he said.

More women lawmakers

Mr Rabuka acknowledged the increased number of women Parliamentarians, saying that during his time as Prime Minister, there were only two women members of Parliament.

“It is encouraging to see the progress that we have made in ensuring the effective participation of women in all aspects of national leadership. I am also proud that I opened the door to recruit women into the (Republic) Fiji Military Forces when I was Commander,” Mr Rabuka said.

Commenting on the Elections result, he said that the low voter turnout emanated from the difficult political environment faced by voters to freely make their democratic choice, because of the number of legislations in place that undermine Fiji’s true democracy.

Narrow majority?

“The FijiFirst Government has been elected to run Government in the next four years, the margin of a very narrow majority of just over 50.02% of those who cast a valid vote, and I agree with those members who have said in this House that ‘won is a win’ no matter what the margin.”

Mr Rabuka acknowledged the address by President Retired Major-General Jioji Konrote.

However, Opposition parties have expressed reservations about what they had perceived from the President’s opening address as selective references to the 1987, 2000 and 2006 Coups in Fiji, he said.

Mr Rabuka said that Mr Konrote reminded the House of the 1987 and 2000 events in which a democratically-elected government was removed at gunpoint but failed to state that the December 5, 2006 events where a democratically-elected government was removed by the military Commander himself.

By Special Arrangement with Fiji Sun

Photo Caption:

Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations and Youth and Sports Minister Parveen Bala (left) with Sitiveni Rabuka on November 29, 2018. (Photo for Fiji Sun by Ronald Kumar)

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