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Fiji Time: 5:09 AM on Thursday 24 April

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Jobless vie for poll

Avinesh Gopal
Saturday, December 14, 2013

A LOT of unemployed youths have reportedly shown interest in contesting the 2014 election under the Social Democratic Liberal Party banner.

Of those who have applied so far to be a SODELPA candidate in the election, about 75 per cent are said to be unemployed youths.

SODELPA general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu said some of the unemployed youths who had applied were university graduates without jobs.

"They are well educated young people who don't have jobs and they have shown interest in contesting the election and being in Parliament," he said.

"We are accepting all applications as they come in now. We will see all applications and decide on our candidates after the closure of applications on December 31."

Mr Tabaiwalu said even people who were unemployed had a chance of winning a seat in parliament as it depended on the support they had in their communities.

"Being unemployed doesn't mean that you can't contest the election and be in Parliament. Everyone has a right and so do the unemployed youths," he said.

Last week, Mr Tabaiwalu said the party was looking at selecting a high quality of candidates for the 2014 election and it would be a representation across all communities.

Party officials or candidates have to make a declaration of his/her assets including his/her wife or husband and dependent children.

The right candidate for the election must have the potential and proven ability and proven leadership qualities. Also, the party wants the candidate to have some level of public profile.

Mr Tabaiwalu said the vote would be for the candidate and as such, it was important that the candidate had some level of being known widely in the community or at other levels.

He said the candidate must have experience in community/sub-constituency/constituency work.

"It's important that some experience in community work is shown as candidates are expected to go out to their communities.

"Some relevant academic qualification is important to be able to grapple with political issues.

"The candidate must be a good decision maker as politics involves a lot of critical decision making for nation building.

"The person must be a good team player, good communicator, highly regarded and command the respect of the community/sub-constituency/constituency he/she represents," said Mr Tabaiwalu.

Meanwhile, applications for the new leader of SODELPA close tomorrow. The applications go directly to the party's selection committee chairperson, Ro Teimumu Kepa.

The party's former leader and former prime minister Laisenia Qarase is no longer associated with the party because certain provisions of the Constitution rules him out of the election.