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Chaudhry's party to join Govt in Fiji

The ethnic Indian leader's Fiji Labour Party has decided to join the new Govt under Laisenia Qarase.

india Updated: May 19, 2006 15:11 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The Fiji Labour Party (FLP), led by former Indo-Fijian Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, has decided to join the new government under Laisenia Qarase.

Chaudhry handed over a formal letter accepting Qarase's invitation to join the government here Friday.

Qarase's Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party won 36 seats in the 71-member House of Representatives in the general elections which concluded recently.

The FLP won 31 seats.

Media reports here quoted Chaudhry as saying that he would submit his list of names for Qarase's cabinet on Monday.

However, he also said that his party should be allotted eight portfolios instead of the seven offered by Qarase.

Qarase was on Thursday sworn in Prime Minister of Fiji after his party secured the support of two independent candidates, raising its strength in parliament to 38.

Chaudhry had become Prime Minister of Fiji in 2000 before being ousted in a coup a year later.

This year's elections again saw tension brewing between indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians with allegations of racism in the appointment of poll officials, printing of extra ballot papers and registration of voters in wrong constituencies.

Indo-Fijians comprise 44 per cent of Fiji's total population of around 900,000.

First Published: May 19, 2006 15:11 IST