Rabuka Starts Race for Party Leader Po­si­tion

Fiji Sun - - EXPLAINER - Feed­back: ne­mani.de­laibatiki@fi­jisun. com.fj

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

SODELPA care­taker party leader Si­tiveni Rabuka.

SODELPA for­mer party leader Ro Tei­mumu Kepa.

Ne­mani De­laibatiki

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