Parties condemn PM’s comment

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at Korovuto College hall in Nadi during an earlier FijiFirst campaign. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s warning that a vote for the National Federation Party was a vote for the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) has been condemned by both parties.

The PM made the comment while speaking at a political rally at Korovuto College in Nadi yesterday.

“Those of you who voted for other parties, especially NFP, I would like you to tell me why you voted for NFP,” he said.

The PM claimed NFP was silent in Parliament when SODELPA said they would fight for the indigenous iTaukei.

“Never vote for SODELPA because they are not going to look after you.

“There’s NFP, NFP is supposed to be looking after your agenda, your issues, the Indo-Fijian community. What have they done in the last four years in Parliament, nothing.

“Now, how can you Indo-Fijians vote for NFP, if they are not going to look after you?

“Why are you voting for NFP, is it because you’re Indo-Fijian? “That’s sad because we’ve done all we can in the last 10 years or so to bring equality in the nation.

“We are now all called Fijians.”

NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad said the PM was behaving like someone who was desperately clutching to straws for survival.

“He has totally shirked his pledge for the election campaign to be all about a battle of ideas. Instead he should have a public debate with me on why under his leadership for past 12 years there has been a stratospheric rise to the cost of living, deteriorating public health and medical services, mess in the education system, almost 50 per cent decline in the sugar industry, almost total collapse of the dairy industry, ballooning debt levels, against a backdrop of exorbitantly high increases to salaries of the PM and Cabinet ministers.”

SODELPA leader and former PM Sitiveni Rabuka called for responsible political debate during the 2018 election campaign.

“Regarding the mistaken characterisation by Prime Minister Bainimarama of SODELPA as ‘only for the iTaukei’, I confirm again that SODELPA’s founding document and guiding principles affirm the freedom and dignity of all religions and religious denominations and the right of opinion and belief,” he said.

“It is an important objective of the party to protect, enhance and promote the economic, social and human development of all communities and to secure their future in the Fiji Islands.”

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