Dr Waqainabete resigns from Fiji Parliament, fifth FijiFirst MP to step down

The departure of Fiji’s former Minister for Health Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete today is the latest in a wave of resignation by FijiFirst MPs from the country’s parliament.

FijiFirst party leader Voreqe Bainimarama resigned last week, and since early January, a total of five FijiFirst MPs, whose votes equated to 82.06% of the party’s total votes in the election, have stepped down. FijiFirst amassed 200,246 votes in the election, 42.55 per cent of the total valid votes cast.

Dr. Waqainabete confirmed his resignation via social media after it was announced by parliament.

In a tweet, Dr Waqainabete, who served as Minister for Health from 2018 until the country’s general election in December last year, stated that he resigned “to pursue life as a private citizen.”

Resignations in the FijiFirst caucus began with Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in early January, followed by Dr Mahendra Reddy later the same month with Rosy Akbar resigning mid-Feb.

Veena Bhatnagar, a former MP, is expected to replace Dr Waqainabete as the next best polling FijiFirst candidate. She is likely to be sworn into parliament in the next sitting scheduled for the end of this month with Sachida Nand, who replaces Bainimarama, and Virendra Lal as Akbar’s replacement. Alipate Tuicolo replaced Sayed-Khaiyum and Penioni Ravunawa for Dr Reddy.

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