It came as a surprise: Opposition Whip on Rabuka’s resignation

Lynda Tabuya

Fiji’s Opposition whip Lynda Tabuya admits they were taken by surprise at the resignation of Sitiveni Rabuka, whose Leader of Opposition (LOP) seat remains vacant as a successor is still to be chosen.

Tabuya said the party has not decided, let alone discuss possible names for the vacant LOP and SODELPA MP seats.

“A lot of our members are surprised that this has happened and …shocked. So we’ve had to move swiftly to get the processes in place. I’m just thankful that our members have kept calm and turned up to Parliament still to continue with our work to represent our people in Parliament.”

Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya

Lawyer Tanya Waqanika has been earmarked to take up the vacant SODELPA MP seat being next in line as per 2018 elections vote count, but Tabuya said they are awaiting official word from Fiji’s Electoral Commission.

“We’re hoping that this will take place tomorrow that will have a new member of parliament.”

As for the LOP seat, Tabuya said it will be decided by the Fiji Opposition caucus, including the National Federation Party.

“So we have not taken the vote today,” Tabuya told members of the media today. “We have not even discussed the possible names that have come up.”

Rabuka resigned this morning saying his presence in the Fijian Parliament is an ‘obstacle’ to the two sides’ reaching bipartisan agreements on issues that affect Fijians.

“I will no longer be an obstacle to the bipartisan approach to be taken by the leaders of Fiji to create harmony,” Rabuka said.

Former Fiji Leader of Opposition Sitiveni Rabuka

He has neither confirmed nor denied forming a new party, saying he will remain with SODELPA over “unfinished business” relating to the party leaders’ selection process.

Former hotelier Viliame Gavoka and lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo were appointed SODELPA leader and deputy leader two weeks ago.

Gavoka told Fijian media that they were still coming to terms with Rabuka’s announcement.

In his parting speech in parliament this morning, Rabuka called for unity, and for zero complacencies in the fight against COVID-19 and climate change. He recommended the enactment of a new constitution that incorporates ‘positive provisions’ of the 1997 and 2013 constitutions before the 2022 elections provided it is endorsed by all Fijians and a re-think of the electoral process.

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