Ratu Meli makes way for Ro Teimumu to lead SODELPA
Ratu Meli Saukuru has withdrawn from the contest for party leader.
By ROSI DOVIVERATA
Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) West nominee for party leader, Ratu Meli Saukuru, has confirmed withdrawing his nomination for the position after learning that party president, Ro Teimumu Kepa, is also in the running. Ratu Meli was one of two nominees from the Western Division. He said he visited the SODELPA office on Monday and was told of the new development. “When I was told the Gone Marama Bale was also in the running, I asked to have my nomination withdrawn for party leader. “She is my leader of the vanua ‘o Burebasaga. I can’t be running against her.” On his return to Nadi on Tuesday, he informed the SODELPA West officials about his decision. “They’ve accepted my explanation and support the decision I have made.” Ratu Meli hails from Dratabu village in Nadi. Nadi is part of the Burebasaga confederacy. He said Ro Teimumu was best suited for the position of party leader. “She has worked in government. She is kind-hearted and strong- willed. I think she is the right person for the position.” Ratu Meli said it was now up to the selection committee to consider him as a candidate for the party. “If they want me as a candidate, it’s their choice. In the meantime, I have the vanua, the church and other obligations to attend to. “I don’t normally campaign. The work that I have done speaks for itself,” Ratu Meli said. Ratu Meli is a former vice president of the Methodist Church of Fiji and the Nadi Methodist Division Holding Company chairman. He was a member of the former Soqosoqo ni Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party (SDL). He won the Ba West Fijian Communal seat during the 2006 general elections. He is also a former Multi-ethnic Affairs minister. Another party leader nominee is former chief executive officer of the Public Service, Anare Jale. He was nominated by SODELPA’s Eastern Division He said he was not informed about recent developments on the party leader position. “I’ve also just returned from the Solomon Islands. But I think we need to be consulted about any new developments. “I know that the SODELPA Eastern Division are meeting today (yesterday), so maybe they will inform me about any change.” Mr Jale said it was important that they worked together and be consulted regarding party matters