Our new Speaker

FORMER Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni is the country’s first woman Speaker of Parliament.Dr Luveni’s appointment was confirmed by Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday

.”She (Dr Luveni) resigned last night (Tuesday) and she resigned as a winning candidate so that she can be our Speaker,” the PM said.

Dr Luveni confirmed she had been notified by the PM but would only comment after receiving her appointment letter.

“I have spoken to the Prime Minister. I might receive my letter of appointment as stipulated in the Constitution tomorrow (today) and then I will comment,” she said.

And as the country’s first woman Speaker of Parliament, Dr Luveni has a number of expectations and responsibilities as Fiji moves closer to its first parliamentary sitting since 2006.

FemLINKPACIFIC executive director Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls yesterday wished Dr Luveni all the best, saying it was a key step for Fiji to take to appoint a woman Speaker.

“I think it’s a really good move to have a woman as Speaker, but we would hope that as a woman who previously held the portfolio for women in the interim government, that her deliberations in Parliament will do several things,” Ms Bhagwan-Rolls said.

“Firstly, to ensure there is greater gender inclusion in the way of parliamentary proceedings – the oversight she provides and brings to parliamentary proceedings.

“Secondly, to continue to guide and offer ways in which women can access the parliamentary proceedings as well and that kind of accountability to the women of Fiji, because that’s going to be one of the challenges right now.”

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said it was a positive move for women in Fiji and the Pacific.

“This is really good. We welcome the appointment and I think it’s an important first step – it’s a proud moment for women in this country.

“This is also a time for collaboration and we need to have women in these positions so that people start accepting women in leadership positions and start recognising and accepting women’s leadership and kudos to this government for being able to do this.”