Rabuka Starts Race for Party Leader Position
Sitiveni Rabuka has not only spoken about his intention to stand again as party leader he has now done it.
It is understood that he has lodged his application for a second term.
He is one of the first applicants and he is reportedly asking members interested in the position to follow him and submit their applications which close this month.
In doing so, he is testing the constitution which says that the party leader steps down when the party loses an election. But it’s silent on whether he or she can contest a second term.
Mr Rabuka is using this argument to launch his bid. The party lost the 2018 election under his leadership. He resigned, but was asked to stay on as a caretaker party leader until a new leader is elected.
Ro Teimumu Kepa relinquished the role after she lost the 2014 election following sweeping changes to the constitution.
She did not seek re-election because of the understanding that a new party leader was needed. That was when Mr Rabuka entered the scene.
He was approached in a traditional ceremony to contest the party leader position by the same group of reformers who were behind the constitutional changes.
They are also backing Mr Rabuka for a second shot at the job. Their opponents are saying that’s hypocritical.
Mr Rabuka should make way for a new party leader in the same way as Ro Teimumu did for him, they say.
They claim that it will be unconstitutional if Mr Rabuka is allowed to stand without an amendment to the constitution to legitimise his move.
The precedent was set in 2016 by Ro Teimumu and it should be followed. Or will Mr Rabuka set a new precedent?
Applications close on August 12. A panel will go through the applications and interview applicants. A deputy leader has been added to the process for the first time. TOMORROW: Rabuka’s likely opponents