A NEW leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party will be appointed in the next few weeks.
Former prime minister Laisenia Qarase is no longer the leader of the party, as the new Constitution also rules him out as a candidate for the 2014 elections.
Mr Qarase was the leader of the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party then SODELPA after the name change.
SODELPA general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu said a special committee had been appointed to look into the appointment of a new party leader.
"Mr Qarase is no longer the party leader and the party's committee will be sitting by the end of this month or early next month to appoint the new leader," he said.
The likely candidates for the party leader's post, Mr Tabaiwalu said: "It is still open and there are some strong contenders, both old and new, for the leader's post.
"But the western, eastern, northern and central constituencies will shortlist two names each for the post. We have to get this done quickly."
Mr Tabaiwalu said Mr Qarase would remain with the party as a mentor, saying the former prime minister's experience would be to the party's advantage.
He said the party welcomed other people who were interested in helping by giving advice. Also, he said the party's main concern was to tackle the membership issue.
"We are going around the country and setting up branches. The tikina will be the branch and the villages will be the sub-constituencies.
"We have not deviated from the four constituencies that initially came up in the first draft of the Constitution."