FORMER politician Krishna Datt says while talk of coalitions are good in the lead-up to the 2018 General Election, it may be time to take a further step and form a single party out of these coalitions.
Mr Datt said with talk of smaller parties forming coalitions and common manifestos, it made sense to consolidate all their potential votes under a single banner to form an effective opposition.
"In the present electoral system it makes no difference. You will still take away your share of votes and if you look at the last election results, if you count all those votes of individuals and political parties that didn't make it, the opposition would have had a much higher number," he said.
Currently for any party to make it into Parliament, they must secure at least five per cent of the total number of voters.
In the 2014 elections, four parties did not meet the threshold.
They were the People's Democratic Party that received 3.2 per cent of the total number of votes, the Fiji Labour Party which received 2.4 per cent, One Fiji Party- 1.2 per cent and the Fiji United Freedom Party had 0.2 per cent.
Independents captured a further 0.3 per cent of the total votes.
"If you have a manifesto and say we will all have a common manifesto, why don't you have a common party with your quota of people in that party?" asked Mr Datt.
"Your political identity and your plans for what you want to offer are contained in your manifesto and if you are talking about having a common platform, you have lost your identity anyway and you are talking about your ego that is left."
Mr Datt said FijiFirst had already done a lot of work on the ground and still had a large following with opposition parties having to capture votes from the already well-established party.
"And let me tell you that my own feedback from the ground is that is not going to be very easy.
"Government in power always has the upper edge you know, so they are able to use that effectively.
Mr Datt said coalitions and political parties which insisted on contesting elections without receiving the required five per cent threshold were "spoilers".
"Every one of these coalitions that is not going to make the 5 per cent is going to be a spoiler," he said.
"They are asking for a vote for themselves and then wasting it if they don't make the 5 per cent."