The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) is in no rush to choose the next government as it is being courted by the ruling Fiji First Party (FFP) and the coalition of Peoples Alliance Party (PAP) and the National Federation Party (NFP) to form the next Fijian government.
This after the Fijian Elections Office announced the result of the 2022 General Elections for the country’s 55 seat parliament today, with FFP and the PAP/NFP coalition winning 26 seats each and SODELPA becoming kingmakers with their three seats.
SODELPA leader, Viliame Gavoka held a press conference this afternoon and confirmed that negotiations begun last night with FFP and the PAP/NFP coalition.
SODELPA has also had a separate meeting with NFP.
“We are not rushing this, we have 14 days to do it but I can assure you that the outcome will be the best for this country,” Gavoka said.
“We are very much an iTaukei party, our base is the indigenous people of this country and their issues have always been paramount to us and that is very much part of those issues that we will not negotiate on.”
As SODELPA looks for its “perfect” marriage partner, Gavoka said they have non-negotiable issues such as certain indigenous or iTaukei issues, some education-related and the establishment of an embassy in Jerusalem in Israel.
While not divulging much, Gavoka said they have certain demands that are negotiable such as ministerial positions and issues related to foreign affairs and education.
“For SODELPA, our relationship in foreign affairs will be aligned closely with Australia and New Zealand, who are members of the Pacific Islands Forum and our traditional partners.
“Fiji is a predominantly a Christian country and it is always the wish of the Christian community to have a presence in the Holy Land and that is SODELPA being, the natives, mostly Christians that is their wish to build an embassy,” he added.
SODELPA’s negotiating team is led by former parliamentarian, civil servant and ambassador to the United Nations, Anare Jale.
Negotiations between the parties began last night and continued today with counter proposals.
Gavoka confirmed that negotiations will continue tomorrow, and he hoped that the final offers could be presented to the party’s management board soon.
The management board comprises of 42 representatives from constituencies, youth wing, women’s wing including the party president and three vice presidents.
It will decide the next Fijian Government by choosing which party SODELPA have a coalition with.