Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says there is no question of him being bound by a deadline in reaching a settlement on the multi-party cabinet issue.
Mr. Chaudhry was responding to an ultimatum issued to him by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, through the media, that he would have 48 hours on his return to the country to decide on the multi party cabinet issue.
“The FLP will not be bullied on this issue. There must be just and honest compliance by the Prime Minister in meeting the requirements of Section 99 of the Constitution,” Mr. Chaudhry said.
“The negotiations are not complete yet. We have still not resolved our differences on the number of cabinet positions to be shared between us. Nor has the Prime Minister responded to my concerns on the allocation of portfolios to the Labour Party,” he said.
“I do not dispute the Prime Minister’s right to allocate cabinet portfolios. But he must be fair, balanced and recognise the political mandate of the FLP as the second largest party in Parliament and the only other party entitled to be invited to be represented in Cabinet,” Mr. Chaudhry said.
Mr. Chaudhry reminded the Prime Minister of the Supreme Court judgment which had made a clear pronouncement that ” …rigid stances are not readily reconciled with the compact and the spirit of the Constitution as a whole”.
“The Prime Minister has an obligation to negotiate in good faith. And I call on him to do so in order that we can put this constitutional impasse behind us and concentrate on addressing the serious national problems that confront us,” Mr. Chaudhry said.