The Labour Parliamentary caucus has accepted the Prime Minister’s invitation to join his cabinet under with the power sharing provisions of the Constitution.
Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry met with PM Laisenia Qarase this afternoon to discuss his offer of 7 cabinet positions to Labour.
Mr. Chaudhry told a media conference Thursday night that “they appear to be substantial portfolios” but the Ministries offered were in “a lot of mess. We are expected to clear the mess for the SDL”.
In 2001 the Prime Minister had refused to invite the Labour Party to join his government in line with section 99 of the Constitution. Labour was forced to seek redress through the courts. The matter went through to the Supreme Court before Qarase finally complied but frustrated the process by offering the FLP token and insignificant ministerial positions with barely any budget.
This time around he had made an offer of conventional ministries but Chaudhry cautioned that the PM must act in good faith.
“Mr Qarase should consult with the FLP and its coalition partners in the formation of a truly multi-party cabinet. Not what he did the last time when he manipulated the whole process and made a mockery of the multi-party cabinet provision of the Constitution,” Mr. Chaudhry said.
Qarase is planning a cabinet of 21 with four portfolios going to the two independents and two to be brought in from the Senate.
Cabinet positions offered by the Prime Minister are as follows:
- Commerce and Industry
- Labour and Employment Opportunities
- Local Government and Urban Development
- Energy and Mineral Resources