Parliament is back

FIJI’S Parliament finally had its first sitting after eight long years with all 50 elected parliamentarians officially adopting their new roles yesterday.

And in accordance with the standing orders of Parliament, the MPs got straight to business electing the Speaker of Parliament, Deputy Speaker and the Leader of Opposition.

There were no surprises as Dr Jiko Luveni was officially elected the first-ever woman Speaker of Parliament.

Her nomination – moved by FijiFirst MP Semi Koroilavesau and seconded by Joeli Cawaki ­- was unchallenged.

SODELPA leader and Rewa high chief Ro Teimumu Vuikaba Kepa was also officially confirmed as the Leader of Opposition, with her nomination moved by Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and seconded by NFP president Roko Tupou Draunidalo.

However, parliament had to go to its first vote in its first meeting to decide the position of deputy Speaker of Parliament.

FijiFirst parliamentarian Ruveni Nadabe Nadalo and SODELPA parliamentarian Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua were both nominated for the position.

And the secret ballot showed a clear split along opposition and government lines with Mr Nadalo winning the vote 32 to 18.

The final order of business was for the newly-minted parliamentarians to vote on whether to accept the standing orders of Parliament, a document that dictates how parliament will work.

Utilising the state-of-the-art UNDP implemented electronic voting system, the MPs voted to accept the orders with a vote of 49 to 1.

The standing orders committee was then instructed by Dr Luveni to review the orders and report back to parliament within 14 sitting days.

Parliament will sit again today where the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, is expected to deliver his address to the house.

SODELPA leader and Rewa paramount chief Ro Teimumu Vuikaba Kepa was also officially confirmed as the Leader of Opposition, with her nomination moved by Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and seconded by NFP president Roko Tupou Draunidalo.

However, Parliament had to go to its first vote in its first meeting to decide the position of Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

FijiFirst parliamentarian Ruveni Nadabe Nadalo and SODELPA parliamentarian Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua were both nominated for the position.

And the secret ballot showed a clear split along opposition and government lines with Mr Nadalo winning the vote 32 to 18.

The final order of business was for the newly-minted parliamentarians to vote on whether to accept the standing orders of Parliament, a document that dictates how Parliament will work.

Utilising the state-of-the-art UNDP implemented electronic voting system, the MPs voted to accept the orders with a vote of 49 to 1.

The standing orders committee was then instructed by Dr Luveni to review the orders and report back to Parliament within 14 sitting days.

Parliament will sit again today where the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, is expected to deliver his address to the house.