PDP’s demise could boost Labour

Fiji Sun

The suspended People’s Democratic Party (PDP) faces deregistration if it fails to comply with the requirements sought by the Fijian Elections Office.

One of the requirements, under the Political Parties decree, is that all the key executive positions are filled.

It is understood that only the Treasurer and General Secretary positions are filled.

If it is deregistered, it will have an impact on the general election landscape.

One politician who is rubbing his hands with glee is Fiji Labour Party (FLP) leader Mahendra Chaudhry. The demise of PDP will open the door for his Party to consolidate its support in the labour movement. PDP had split the votes in the 2014 General Election. As a result, FLP and PDP failed to win a seat.

Breakaway Party

PDP was formed after Felix Anthony, General Secretary of the Fiji Trades Union Congress, broke away from FLP because he did not like Mr Chaudhry’s leadership style.

But they now appear to be singing the same tune as they rally support for the striking Air Terminal Services workers.

Mr Anthony has kept people guessing about the future of his political career since he resigned as PDP leader.

His mates, lawyer Aman Ravindra Singh, who is the former PDP General Secretary and Daniel Urai, FTUC President, have aligned themselves with FLP.

Mr Singh is now the Assistant General Secretary of FLP. Mr Urai has no substantive role, but has been prominent in recent FLP rallies.

Split Votes

If Mr Chaudhry is able to capture the PDP votes (there is no guarantee), he could attain the threshold for FLP to win a seat. Those votes can also be split between Fiji First, National Federation Party, SODELPA and even Unity Fiji Party.

Since the resignation of Mr Anthony as leader and a Party pioneer Sivia Qoro (now in Unity Fiji), PDP has been on a downward spiral. President and later Leader Lynda Tabuya has unsuccessfully tried to keep PDP on an even keel.

Pact with SODELPA

Her move to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka that allows PDP members to contest the election under the SODELPA banner was weird. It looks like a ploy to buy time before the PDP ship goes under. It came as no surprise when the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) started asking questions.

It also caused a stir in the SODELPA camp and it is understood that the “merger” was viewed with suspicion by some officials. They included Raman Velji, a Vice-President, one of the few Indo-Fijians in the Party.

He quit the party because “the recent development within the party has been of great concern to me.”  It is believed this is to do with the MOU with PDP.

By Arrangement with Fiji Sun.

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