Support for SODELPA
March 8, 2014 | Filed under: Business | Posted by: newsroom
By AQELA SUSU
The selection of the Social Democratic Liberal Party leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa signals a significant step in its campaign efforts for the 2014 poll.
The big turn-out at the FTA Hall in Suva yesterday showed support for what used to be Fiji’s biggest iTaukei party, the former Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party.
Statements by Ro Teimumu in her maiden speech were similar to the policies of the SDL-led government ousted in the 2006 takeover.
The attendance of other veteran political leaders like Fiji Labour Party’s Mahendra Chaudhry and Lavinia Padarath and National Federation Party’s Raman Pratap Singh are seen as stepping stones to what is expected to be a “coalition”.
To the many supporters who turned up yesterday, Ro Teimumu said: “I will be there for you, to speak out for a Fiji free of fear and oppression; a Fiji of respect and compassion, social justice, the rule of law and economic progress that creates the jobs we desperately need.”
Ro Teimumu has also offered herself for selection as a general election candidate. She said: “I announce today that I have offered myself for selection as a general election candidate.”
She said she would be there for the party and her courage would not falter as they moved along what she called the hazardous path back to freedom, legitimate constitutional rule and representative democracy.
She said that those who were involved in the change of government leadership in 2006 “are still seen as a threat.” According to her they will be reluctant to give up their power.
A top priority for SODELPA will be to hold immediate consultations – if they win power – with the iTaukei Land Trust Board and a restored Bose Levu Vakaturaga on leased lands.
When asked on why bring back iTaukei and Multi-ethnic affairs scholarships? She said: “We want to bring it back because there are some students who fall through the places that are there that are needed to be taken care of through those two scholarships. It will be done in a proper manner and we will look at the facts and figures and see who’s eligible for those scholarships – the iTaukei and Multi-ethnic – because it has worked in the past and we will ensure that.”
Fiji Labour Party leader Mr Chaudhry said in a press conference after the meeting that they have been working together under the United Front for a Democratic Fiji (UFDF) and what they saw at the FTA hall is a very positive sign.
“I hope the people will support us,” he said.
The National Federation Party president, Raman Pratap Singh said: “Under our umbrella (UFDF) we have been here for the last two years and that is an understanding between the parties as the leader of SODELPA has said that we will be fighting the elections on our own. We have an understanding and we are working with that understanding.”
Dr Tupeni Baba, an applicant for the party leader position, said after the meeting that Ro Teimumu was the choice of the selection committee.
“She is their choice and I will support her. She has expertise leadership, especially in a traditional Fijian setting and I think that is important. She is also qualified academically and has a lot of experience as a member of the past two cabinets.
“It appears she has the rapport and support of the people from around Fiji – especially with the turn-out that we saw today.”