Drau­nidalo Out, Par­mod Chand In?

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - Jy­oti By Prat­i­bha

The Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion Party (NFP) does not have to play the vic­tim with the sus­pen­sion from Par­lia­ment of its pres­i­dent, Tupou Drau­nidalo. In fact, the NFP can still con­tinue to have three mem­bers in Par­lia­ment if they are re­ally wor­ried about serv­ing the peo­ple. Ms Drau­nidalo is sus­pended for the en­tire term. She was sus­pended for at­tribut­ing com­ments to Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Ma­hen­dra Reddy which were false and in­flamed eth­nic ten­sions on so­cial me­dia. All Ms Drau­nidalo has to do is to re­sign from Par­lia-

ment.

If she does, this would open the op­por­tu­nity for an­other NFP mem­ber to be sworn in as a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment. The next one on the list is prom­i­nent Labasa bus com­pany op­er­a­tor and for­mer par­lia­men­tar­ian Par­mod Chand. Ms Drau­nidalo’s res­ig­na­tion from Par­lia­ment would not mean that she would re­sign from the party. She could very well still be the pres­i­dent of the party.

Cur­rently, there are talks within NFP that if there is a way in which an­other NFP mem­ber could sit in Par­lia­ment, it ought to be ex­plored. When con­tacted yes­ter­day Ms Drau­nidalo said: “I can only say to you what I have told other me­dia and that is that we will have to dis­cuss the is­sue (of sus­pen­sion) with our lawyers be­fore we can say any­thing. A state­ment would be re­leased af­ter that, which we will send to the Fiji Sun as well.” With Mr Chand com­ing in, the party would con­tinue to have three mem­bers in Par­lia­ment and have their val­ues and vot­ers rep­re­sented fully. In fact, one may ques­tion why SODELPA has not done the same with the sus­pen­sion of Ratu Naiqama Lal­a­bal­avu. But, it could be ar­gued that his sus­pen­sion would be lifted on May 22 next year and he will then be back in Par­lia­ment as a SODELPA MP. But with Ms Drau­nidalo her sus­pen­sion is for the re­main­der of the term.

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