Rabuka: No Threat to Coalition Cabinet Ministers Amid Support from Former FijiFirst Members

Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has affirmed the stability of his coalition government, despite recent shifts in political allegiance by former FijiFirst party members.

“None of the coalition cabinet ministers is threatened,” Rabuka told the press following his meeting with nine former FijiFirst MPs.

Over the weekend, Rabuka met with these former FijiFirst members, who expressed their support for him as Prime Minister while deciding to maintain their status as independents.

The MPs, including former RFMF Commander Viliame Naupoto and Iowane Naivalurua, and Mosese Bulitavu, pledged to vote with Rabuka’s government on policies they believe serve the best interests of the Fijian people.

“It is humbling, and they were very strong supporters of the party that is now being deregistered,” Rabuka said. “It is very important to them to continue to represent the people, not necessarily the party, the people who voted for them. So they should participate in the parliamentary debates and continue to promote what they believe is in the interest of the people, and they can do that across the floor as well.”

Rabuka, who leads a coalition government formed by his People’s Alliance Party, the National Federation Party (NFP), and the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), restated the unity and strength of his coalition.

“As far as I am concerned, it is as strong as when it was formed,” he stated.

In addressing concerns about whether he consulted his coalition partners regarding the support from the former FijiFirst members, Rabuka confirmed that discussions had taken place.

“I did, I did this morning,” he said.

Rabuka also disclosed that the meeting with the nine MPs was informal and did not result in any formal agreements.

“No, there was no agreement. It was all verbal. They just came to tell me that they were supporting me as prime minister, and they will continue to sit on the opposition benches as independents. We are hoping that if they are not included in the opposition caucus then they should have a separate facility for themselves, and I will talk to the honorable speaker,” he said.

The former FijiFirst MPs have expressed their intention to support Rabuka’s government on a case-by-case basis, aligning with policies that benefit the Fijian populace. This cooperation has led to speculation about potential constitutional amendments, a possibility Rabuka did not rule out. “That can be a result of their cooperation,” he said.

The leaders of NFP and SODELPA, the two other parties in Rabuka’s coalition, have reportedly welcomed the support from the former FijiFirst members. Rabuka reiterated that this new alignment poses no threat to his coalition ministers.

“None of them is threatened. None of the coalition cabinet ministers is threatened,” he said.

The nine MPs are Aliki Bia, Naisa Tuinaceva, Ratu Josaia Niudamu, Penioni Ravunawa, Alipate Tuicolo, and Taito Rokomatu. Former FijiFirst MPs Inia Seruiratu and Jone Usamate have also indicated their willingness to support beneficial policies raised by the Coalition Government.

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