Former Fiji’s Prime Minister and suspended Opposition Leader Voreqe Bainimarama has resigned from Parliament.

He confirmed this in a live video posted on the FijiFirst Facebook page.

“You are aware that two weeks ago I was suspended from Parliament for three years. My suspension means that FijiFirst numbers in Parliament will go down to 25.

“Given the precedent that has been set, the suspension of 3 years was in my opinion, unwarranted and most certainly unjustified. I did not swear nor did I make any racist or divisive comments. In fact, the so called offensive words could have been objected to by points of order as provided for under the Standing Orders. However, the decision has been made by Parliament through vote and I have complied with the decision,” he said.

Bainimarama said given that he has been suspended from Parliament for the next three years and in a little over three years, the next election can be held, it is important that FijiFirst maintains at all times, its 26 seats in Parliament.

“This is to ensure that we keep the three uneven legged stool Government in check in Parliament at all times.”

“It is imperative that FijiFirst does it to always prevent the 3 uneven legged stool Government from running roughshod over our Constitution, breaches of which are taking place almost on a daily basis, and to highlight the lack of adherence to basic fundamentals of due process and procedural fairness.”

“It has also become evident since 24 December 2022, 73 days to date, that the three uneven legged stool Government is not service driven nor does it subscribe to the modern ways of running a Government in the 21st century.”

“Given the need to maintain our numbers in Parliament over the next three years, and the need for FijiFirst to be on the ground at all times, following discussions with our General Secretary, our Parliamentary Caucus, and most of all our supporters, I have tendered my resignation from Parliament, with immediate effect.”

“However, please be assured that I will still continue to be the Leader of FijiFirst,” he added.

Bainimarama said FijiFirst will nominate Inia Seruiratu in the next sitting of Parliament to be the Leader of Opposition.

“My work as Leader, with the General Secretary will be to guide our Parliamentary Caucus so they can continue to fight inside Parliament while we will engage more actively outside Parliament with our FijiFirst supporters and the growing number of unsatisfied Fijians who are now questioning their decision to vote for parties that seem to be not delivering on their promises.

“I want to assure all our supporters and all Fijians that you will be seeing more of me on the ground as I engage with you to listen to your needs, wants and concerns.

“I am personally very concerned about the increase in the casual reference to racism, bigotry and statements of discrimination on social media.

As a Leader, I truly believe that if not stopped, such behaviour could lead to a disenfranchised society,” said Bainimarama.

Bainimarama is the fourth FijiFirst MP to resign from Parliament after Secretary General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, Mahendra Reddy and Rossy Akbar.