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Fiji yet to have leader of Oppn

However, reports suggest that United People's Party leader Mick Beddoes is the most likely nominee for the post.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 12:23 IST

Fiji President Ratu Josefa Iloilo is still receiving legal advice, including from leader of the Fiji Labour Party (FLP) and former Indo-Fijian Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, on the post of leader of the opposition in the country's Parliament.

According to reports here, the president's acting official secretary Suliasi Turagabeci has said that all the opinions are being considered by Iloilo himself and a decision is likely on Thursday or latest by Friday.

The post of leader of the opposition has come under intense scrutiny after the two largest parties in parliament, the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party led by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and the Chaudhry-led FLP, joined hands to form a coalition government.

While SDL had won 36 seats in the 71-member House of Representatives, the FLP had won 31.

This left Fiji with virtually no opposition. The United People's Party (UPP) had managed two seats while independents got two.

The independents have since lent their support to the SDL-led government.

Though reports here suggested that leader of UPP Mick Beddoes was the most likely nominee for the post, the issue is yet to be resolved. Chaudhry, whose party has been allotted eight berths in the new cabinet, has expressed keenness for the opposition leader's post.

According to a report in the Fiji Times newspaper, Qarase has backed BeddoesBeddoes for the post.

It is high time that the post was filled since a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate is scheduled for next Tuesday for the official opening of the new Parliament.

The opposition leader gets to choose eight Senate members.