The Fiji Labour Party is alive and active and will contest the 2014 general elections, contrary to claims by interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
Commodore Bainimarama is reported as having told the local media that none of the politicians will be allowed in the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) and that some of them will be disallowed from contesting the next general elections.
He is also on record as claiming from time to time that none of the current parties will be there to contest the 2014 elections.
First of all, we note that the much publicised NDF which was scheduled to begin discussions by February, has still not got off the ground.
FLP in its New Year’s message to the people of Fiji, had pointed out that there did not seem to be much hope for meaningful political dialogue with the kind of pliant, non-inclusive National Dialogue Forum being set up by the authorities.
Its composition and deliberations are unlikely to be recognised by the international community as credible or representative of the will of the people of Fiji.
If Commodore Bainimarama is expecting to dictate terms on how the elections will be fought and who will be eligible to contest, such an election will not be recognized by the international community.
His claim that race based policies and politics were embedded in the system in the past may have some merit. But we call on the Commodore not to paint all political parties with the same brush.
The FLP was never into race-based politics. Indeed, the Fiji Labour Party was formed in 1985 to provide a genuine multiracial alternative to the overall ethnic platforms of the two existing political parties. Nor has it ever fought general elections on a racial platform and our successive election manifestos stand testimony to this.
Furthermore, FLP was the only political party that strongly opposed the continued emphasis on an ethnic based-electoral system in the 1997 Constitution.
As for FLP’s contribution to the nation, Commodore Bainimarama needs to check the achievements of the Labour-led People’s Coalition Government of 1999/2000 in just one short year in office. It had the best performance record of any government in office in the past two decades.
Facts and figures do not lie.