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SODELPA to remove Secular State definition if ruling party

October 22, 2018 7:16 pm

The Social Democratic Liberal Party if elected into government will remove the provision under the constitution that defines Fiji as a Secular State.

Under the provisions of a Secular State in the 2013 Constitution, religious liberty is a founding principle of the State and that the State and all persons holding public office must treat all religions equally.

SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka while launching the party’s manifesto on Saturday says they have never constitutionalized religion and while they would not legally label Fiji a Christian State, they would advocate for Christian values.

A SODELPA government he says would remove these provisions entirely.

“We would like to just take that out cause we have never constitutionalized religion, it’s never been constitutionalized. We’ve never said that Fiji is a Christian State. We continue to live with christian values according to our law, it’s not there in the constitution as a clause of provision of the constitution.”

Speaking at a campaign rally in Sakoca, Nasinu, FijiFirst Leader Voreqe Bainimarama says the legal provisions which his administration introduced safeguard communities from any religious vilification.

“You know what the secular state does for us? It gives you the freedom to follow any religion you want. Me as a christian, hindu, muslim, you do whatever you want.”

Rabuka elaborates that under the 1997 constitution which the SODELPA party will reinstate if in power, Christianity and its importance is highlighted.

Bainimarama on the other hand says regressive politics of race is what the SODELPA party represents.

Meanwhile the National Federation Party and the Fiji Labour Party noted they would maintain a secular state.