TODAY, this newspaper endeavours to take you, our reader, on a journey of discovery into the life of politician, Professor Biman Prasad.
We hope to make this a regular part of our political updates, talking to aspiring politicians and former politicians, giving you in-depth knowledge of what makes them tick, their hopes and aspirations.
Name: Biman Prasad
Place of birth: Born in the rice farming community of Dreketi, Vanua Levu
Children: A son and a daughter
Occupation: Academic — last position held — Professor of Economics
Political party: National Federation Party
Prof Prasad fought the election in 1999 under the NFP.
Views of Fiji's progress towards election:
Prof Prasad says the progress made is a welcome development and a free and fair election in September will put Fiji back on its path towards sustainability.
He said the government and the Electoral Commission should take as much help and advice as possible from development partners who were willing to help.
Prof Prasad said a lot of work was needed for the preparation of the election as time was running out.
He believes the country's progress has suffered significantly because of the coups and the people have had enough and would welcome a change towards certainty, stability and economic progress.
Plans to contest general election:
Prof Prasad said as the leader of the NFP, he would lead the party into the election with a strong and committed team.
He said apart from the president, Tupou Draunidalo, several key members of the party would include formidable women of repute and standing in the community.
Prof Prasad said the party members and supporters were excited by the broad policy agenda outlined at the 50th anniversary convention.
He said the policies included developing an inclusive and comprehensive economic policy agenda to promote growth in the real sectors which has been lacking.
Prof Prasad claimed this would address the high levels of unemployment in the country.
He said the party had also outlined plans to reduce and control the rising cost of food prices that was putting a significant burden on the poor and pushing many to poverty.
Prof Prasad said the party would also review the many education and health policies.
Prof Prasad said he was focused on fighting the September election.
Views on Fiji's political situation:
Prof Prasad said the September 17 election would be a critical one for Fiji.
He said the path towards the election was at a critical juncture and if NFP steered its way through a credible, free and fair election, it would have laid the foundation for future stability and progress.
Prof Prasad said it was imperative that the institutions governing the election were open, transparent and accountable to the people of this country.
He said the political parties met the Electoral Commission last week and he was confident the commission understood the concerns of the parties and hoped it would re-look some of the provisions of the Electoral Decree and the ballot paper.
Prof Prasad said the government should allow different international election observer groups with internationally accepted terms of reference to provide a report on the elections.
He said in the midst of some of the uncertainties relating to the electoral process, it was heartening to hear the firm assurance by the Commander of the RFMF, Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga that the RFMF would be apolitical during the election and would respect the 2013 Constitution and the results of the election.
Prof Prasad said the assurance would bring back a lot of confidence to people, investors and international partners and would be good for our economic progress.
He said there was a sense of excitement within the party after the success of the 50th anniversary convention in Nadi.