Dr Sushil K Sharma, Lautoka
Though not an impossible task, but a very difficult and uphill battle because of the very short time left before the September 17 elections, the Bainimarama Government is beatable at the polls by a unified grand coalition team of all the opposition parties, provided they have the spine to work in the interest of Fiji, rising above petty party politics, often immersed in personal egos, blinkered aims and short-term goals.
This scenario is possible provided all the opposition parties meet face to face and talk and unify urgently and immediately into a focused agenda- driven grand coalition, able to provide an alternative preapproved and publicised cohesive national unity team.
The grand coalition team has to be willing to take over the reins of government on September 17 democratically, by providing a reformed agenda of leading a new government of national unity with a common purpose to work for the people by understanding their needs and wants first and foremost.
If at all required, any future review of the 2013 constitution by this grand coalition, has to be done as per process and procedure outlined in the 2013 Constitution.
This means that changes will need full mandate and approval of 75 per cent or more of the parliamentarians after a bill for the amendment has been raised in parliament and read at least three times with the second and third reading at least 30 days apart with full debate and providing the 75 per cent threshold mandate at both the second and third reading, further provided that before the third reading of the Bill in Parliament can take place, the relevant committee of Parliament has reported to Parliament.
After approval and notification to the President, who shall then refer the Bill to the Electoral Commission to conduct a referendum of all the registered voters in Fiji to vote on the Bill, the President will assent to the Bill provided that three-quarters of the total number of registered voters in Fiji have agreed to the Bill.
Now that we are guided by the 2013 Constitution which Bainimarama helped accomplish, and this remains no secret; it is not true and definitely a myth that only the Bainimarama Government can and will be able to offer the mission and visions articulated in the new constitution.
In my opinion, it is best that all the opposition parties combine well before the elections and announce their national unity message and their offerings to Fiji as a grand coalition.
In my personal view, a government of national unity is the only way forward for multi-cultural and diverse Fiji and will provide much needed stability; not by the barrel of the gun, but by the pooling of thoughts, ideas, ability to work together and reach compromises establishing a genuine notion and determination to create a truly all-inclusive Fijian society, ahead of self-interest and grandstanding.