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Speaker’s ruling legally sound says PM

June 14, 2024 6:32 pm

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says Speaker of Parliament Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu’s ruling to retain the 17 FijiFirst MP’s is legally defensible.

While speaking to FBC News, Rabuka says the speaker has sought legal advice and has made his ruling to retain the Opposition MPs who were supposedly disciplined and terminated by their party.

The 17 Opposition MPs were terminated by their Party for voting in favour of the Emolument Committee to raise the salary of parliamentary member.

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Rabuka says everybody has been cautiously moving forward.

The 17 FijiFirst members of Parliament have received a letter from Ratu Naiqama stating that he has rejected the FijiFirst Notification of Vacation of Seats.

FijiFirst former leader and party founder Voreqe Bainimarama and former acting General Secretary Faiyaz Koya had used section 63(3) of the Fijian Constitution to terminate these MPS.

This section of the Constitution states that “the seat of the member of Parliament becomes vacant only upon receipt by the Speaker of a written notification signed by the leader and the secretary of the political party notifying the Speaker that the member has voted or abstained from voting in Parliament contrary to any direction issued by the political party, without obtaining the prior permission of the political party.”

However, Rabuka says the decision by the Speaker was made after carefully considering independent legal advice.

He adds that the decision has protected the integrity of the vote of those who supported the emoluments committee report.

“In this case he has carefully weighed up the situation, obtained the best legal advice available and made the ruling which is in favour of FijiFirst as a party and in favour of FijiFirst members who had voted supposedly against the doubtful instruction of the party for them to vote in a certain way. Also protected the integrity of the vote of those that supported it.”

All 26 Opposition Members of Parliament remain and will continue to perform their parliamentary roles.