25 October, 2016, 12:00 am
A GRAND coalition of some major political parties may be possible in the lead-up to the 2018 General Election.
Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry has confirmed that FLP, the National Federation Party and the Social Democratic Liberal Party have been discussing the possibility of a coalition.
“We are discussing this at the moment,” Mr Chaudhry said.
Although the FLP is not represented in Parliament, he said a grand coalition would be the right thing to stop split votes in the next election.
“Because the Opposition is fragmented into four or five other political parties and the votes get split and the system is such that you lose votes if you don’t make the threshold,” he said.
“If we are together, than those votes will count and give you additional seats.”
SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka has not ruled out the option of forming a coalition with other political parties.
“Yes, that has always been an option, but the mechanics for laying the ground rules for co-operation and/or coalition have not been approved by the party management board,” Mr Rabuka said.
While NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad has not divulged much on the possibility of a coalition, he said the party was open for dialogue with the other political party leaders.
“The party at its working committee meeting in Nadi has passed a resolution that the NFP leadership should engage with all political party leaders on political issues of national concern,” Prof Prasad said.
He said the party continued to call for joint parliamentary committees on a number of critical issues such as sugar, the Constitution and decrees.
Prof Prasad also clarified that the party was not in coalition with SODELPA in 2014 and had taken its own position on number of issues in Parliament.
“So yes, we are in Opposition and so is SODELPA in Opposition which is the larger party.”
Some politicians of the People’s Democratic Party have also been approached to be part of the coalition.