Parliament is back

IT has taken us eight years to get to where we were yesterday. And when all things were considered, we are finally on the roll.

Yesterday Parliament sat for the first time since the events of 2006.

And 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.

We now have our first female Speaker in Dr Jiko Luveni and our Leader of the Opposition is Ro Teimumu Kepa.

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

FijiFirst parliamentarian Ruveni Nadabe Nadalo and SODELPA parliamentarian Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua were both nominated for the position.

The secret ballot showed a clear split along opposition and government lines with Mr Nadalo winning the vote 32 to 18. That was to be expected though.

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

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

Clearly there needs to be acceptance of the fact that the people have spoken. The parliamentary process has started and our journey continues towards a future we all have great hopes for.

Dr Luveni’s assurance following the announcement of her role as Speaker, that she will remain fully impartial in all of her duties is encouraging.

As she pointed out yesterday, her loyalties now lay with the nation of Fiji.

She plays a crucial role when Parliament sits.

Interestingly, we can’t shrug aside the fact that the masses want this process. They have given the mandate for the process to evolve into a system that is good for our nation.

Clearly the figures at the recent polls suggest a great deal of interest in the governance of our country.

There is a fair bit of attention focused on who actually leads us forward and the masses made that quite clear with their endorsement of Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama.

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 brand new 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 best part though is that Parliament is back.

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