Fiji PM Rabuka to move motion on Political Parties Act, Attempt is illegal, claims FijiFirst MP

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Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka will move a motion in Parliament on Friday regarding certain sections of the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Act 2013.

The motion seeks approval to get opinions from the Supreme Court on the interpretation of sections 27(6) and 20(2) of the Political Parties Act; and that copies of the opinion are tabled with the Speaker and in Parliament.

Section 27 (6) of the Act says a person who is a member of a political party that has been suspended, and is a member of parliament, shall continue as a member of parliament for the unexpired term.

Section 20 (2) states that where a political party has been deregistered had representatives elected to parliament, such representatives shall continue to serve for the remainder of their term as independents or as members of other political parties.

Rabuka will move this motion pursuant to sections 91(5) and 98(3)(c) of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Fiji Opposition Member of Parliament, Faiyaz Koya says Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka’s attempt to invoke Sections 91(5) of the Fijian Constitution through Parliament is illegal and in breach of the Constitution itself.

Koya in a statement said this move once again casts doubt on the independence of the Fijian Elections Office and calls into question the workings of Parliament.

“Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka intends to use section 91(5) to seek clarification from the Supreme Court on the provisions of the Political Parties (Registration Conduct, Funding, and Disclosures) Act 2013 and, in particular, the fate of candidates of a deregistered party.”

“The problem with this motion is Section 91(5) can only be invoked by Cabinet, not by Parliament. Accordingly, Parliament should not have allowed this motion to be tabled in the first place and more specifically under Section 91(5) Cabinet may seek an opinion from the Supreme Court on any matter concerning the interpretation or application of the Constitution. Not any statute or Act and, in this case, not the Political Parties Act.”

He said interpretation and application of the provisions of the Political Parties Act remain with the FEO, not Cabinet, and must follow normal procedures and, if need be, be adjudicated through the normal process through the courts.

“It appears the Acting SOE has once again demonstrated a lack of professionalism and respect for the independence of the FEO and appears to be working with the Coalition Government.”

“Otherwise, she would publicly object to such a motion.”

“Where is the separation of powers between the FEO and the executive arm of government? The FEO and the Coalition Government once again are participating in a course of action that once again blurs the line between the Executuve and Constitutionally guaranteed independent offices.”

“Why is the Attorney-General, Siromi Turaga, and the Solicitor-General, Ropate Green getting such basics wrong? It appears that they are allowing political motivations to supercede the law and further undermine constitutionalism and the rule of law in Fiji.”

“Furthermore, there aren’t any deregistered political parties, so what game are the coalition government and FEO playing at?”

He added that these are very basic provisions in the Constitution and the Coalition Government with all their legal advisors, including FEO, plan to once again breach the Constitution.

“FijiFirst remains the largest party in Fiji, and we will stay steadfast as the alternative Government,” he said.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS