Friend or foe

FIJI Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry hopes to work with former prime minister Laisenia Qarase in the future.

In an exclusive interview with a team from The Fiji Times on Saturday night, Mr Chaudhry described Mr Qarase as a good friend.

“We have known each other for a very long time not only as an opponent but a competitor,” he said.

Mr Chaudhry said they had been working together since 2000.

“Even though we had our differences and disagreements in the past, we never let it affect our work and relationship.

“I would love to work with someone like Qarase in the future. Maybe not now but later on.”

When approached for comments on Mr Chaudhry’s statement, Mr Qarase only smiled.

The two former prime ministers are known to have been rivals in the political arena in the past.

On his future plans, Mr Chaudhry said he was concentrating on his family’s wellbeing and the FLP.

Mr Chaudhry said the FLP would hold its delegates conference next month and discuss a number of issues that would help move the party forward.

“Matters that relate to the party will all be discussed in our meeting next month,” he said.

The two former prime ministers were seen in discussion at FLP president Lavinia Padarath’s 70th birthday celebration at the Holiday Inn in Suva on Saturday night.

Also present at the function were the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, some members from the Opposition bench in Parliament, family members and friends of Ms Padarath.