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Qarase takes oath as Fiji PM

The nationalist leader had a narrow election win over his ethnic Indian rival Mahendra Chaudhry.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 14:16 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Nationalist leader Laisenia Qarase was sworn in by the President on Thursday for a second time as the Prime Minister of the racially divided South Pacific nation following his narrow election win over an ethnic Indian rival.

Qarase took his oath of office at Government House in the capital, Suva, shortly after election officials confirmed his Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party, won 36 seats in the 71-member Parliament following May 6-13 parliamentary elections.

Qarase said earlier he also had secured the written commitments of support from two independent lawmakers, which would give him a majority of 38 seats.

The opposition Fiji Labour Party, led by former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, an ethnic Indian who was ousted in a 2000 coup by armed Fijian nationalists, won 31 seats in the tightly contested election. Labour has the support of two lawmakers from the allied United Peoples' Party.

First Published: May 18, 2006 12:51 IST