Education Minister Ro Teimumu Kepa has forfeited her seat in Parliament and must resign from cabinet and parliament, says Labour.
Ro Teimumu who is a Rewa high chief , Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi, has accepted appointment as chairperson of the Rewa Provincial Council in breach of the Constitution which bars parliamentarians from holding public office.
Former Attorney General and FLP Senator, Anand Singh said Ro Teimumu must now resign from her seat in parliament and from her cabinet portfolio.
But the SDL government says it will not ask Ro Teimumu to resign. If so, this is another instance of the government defying the Constitution.
The Constitutional provision has raised some controversy and there have been calls for it to be amended. Until then, parliamentarians must abide by the constitution.
In 1999 Sitiveni Rabuka resigned as Leader of the Opposition when he was appointed chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs. In 2001, the Ministry of Fijian Affairs advised Senator Ratu Inoke Takiveikata that he could not accept the post of chairman of the Naitasiri Council.
Likewise, Ratu Sakiusa Makutu resigned from the Senate to be chairman of the Nadroga/Navosa Provincial Council.
Labour is writing to the Speaker of the House of Representatives objecting to Ro Teimumu taking her seat in Parliament if she continues as chairperson of the Rewa Provincial Council.