Editorial comment – On our behalf

President Joji Konrote inspect the guard of honor during the opening of the new 2018/2019 Parliament session yesterday.Picture ATU RASEA

In a strong statement yesterday during the opening of Parliament, the President Jioji Konrote said “fear mongering, communalism and the hateful style of politics must end this very moment”.

Mr Konrote told members of Parliament that “those backward ways of thinking had no place in Fiji’s august House”.

“All of you have sworn solemn oaths or affirm your allegiance to defend our democracy, you have sworn to protect our Constitution — the very document that allowed you to come into this Parliament and grant you the privilege of speaking on behalf of our citizens,” he said.

Mr Konrote reminded the MPs that the State’s established institutions were independent. In accordance with Section 67 of the Constitution, the members of Parliament got straight into the business of electing the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the Leader of the Opposition.

Obviously there were no surprises in the appointments.

The beauty of a progressive process kicked in yesterday when MPs had to decide the position of the Deputy Speaker.

The secret ballot showed a clear split along opposition and government lines.

It was, however, somewhat an injection of faith in a process that allows votes to be cast to decide on important matters.

We have taken another great step on the road to embracing a process that is good for our nation.

The parliamentary process has started and our journey continues towards a future we all have great hopes for.

Our Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni plays a crucial role when Parliament sits. Today, and increasingly no doubt in the future, there is an expectation of how our representatives should perform in Parliament.

The challenge undoubtedly will be on our MPs to see how they can factor in these expectations taking into account the reality on the ground. Clearly there are rather high expectations.

The voters spoke at the polls.

There was a major split.

They each had high expectations of the kind of people they wanted in Parliament.

The onus is now on our MPs to live up to those expectations, and speak for the masses, whether they are in government or in the opposition.

The best part though is that Parliament is back.

We now look up to our MPs to give the next four years their best effort.

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