The future of Fiji coalition Government hangs in the balance as the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) drafts an ultimatum that could collapse the eight-month-old administration.

A letter is expected to be delivered by party leader Villame Gavoka to Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, outlining SODELPA’s grievances for not honouring the kingmaker’s terms of agreement.

Rabuka will have seven days after receipt of the letter with which to respond, or else SODELPA threatens to defect to FijiFirst.

The resolution emanated after a SODELPA management board meeting last Friday, where members voiced concerns over what they called lies from the ruling People’s Alliance (PA) party.

In its initial letter of concern to Rabuka dated 12 January, and in a subsequent follow-up on 12 June, SODELPA questioned PA’s turnaround time to meet its demands.

SODELPA said it had ‘had enough’ and it felt it was ‘conned’ into the role of kingmakers in the coalition.

Deputy Prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica, directed Fiji Sun queries to party general secretary, Sakiaisi Ditoka, who was in Nairai, Lomaitviti, where internet reception is poor.

National Federation Party (NDP) president and Home Affairs Minister, Pio Tikoduadua, said the coalition had to deal with SODELPA grievances.

“I am unaware of an ultimatum,” he said.

“I only hope good sense will prevail.”

Leader of Opposition, Inia Seruiratu was confident last night of a breakthrough that favoured FijiFirst.
“We will not always be Opposition, we are a Government in waiting,” he said.

“We want to move Fiji forward,”

“We are the biggest political party on our own in Parliament.”

Seruiratu said FijiFirst was better placed to meet SODELPA’s demands.

“Everything is subject to negotiations,” he said about SODELPA’s terms of agreement, which included reinstating the Great Council of Chiefs- which FijiFirst party leader, Voreqe Bainimarama, had abolished.

In the coalition agreement, SODELPA wants a nominee to the Electoral Commission, Human rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission and Public Service Commission.

The party also wants five diplomatic mission postings including: United Kingdom, Washington DC and a roving ambassador to Pacific Island nations.

It also wants a $90 million (US$45 million) settlement paid to the University of the South Pacific (USP)and writing off the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) $650 million (US$325 million) debt.

In the 2023- 2024 national budget, the government allocated $53.5 million (US$26.75 million) as payment for the grant.