By Peni Shute and Calvin Prasad in Suva
The Fiji Opposition’s bid to have Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama replaced by Leader of the Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa was defeated in Parliament today.
Opposition MP Semesa Karavaki had tabled a motion of no confidence against PM Bainimarama and proposed the name of Ro Kepa as Prime Minister.
Health Minister Jone Usamate said the motion had no basis and was an absurd proposal.
The motion had little chance of succeeding from the outset, as the government holds an outright majority in Parliament. Parliament spent close to five hours debating the motion.
The common theme of the Opposition’s bid was that it wanted a “healer” as PM, instead of an “enforcer”.
Opposition MPs took turns to give various examples of policies they thought were detrimental to the nation.
In response, government MPs took a united stand and spoke highly of PM Bainimarama.
They all took aim at Kepa, accusing SODELPA of being incapable of leading the nation as there were numerous divisions within the party.
All parliamentarians had a chance to contribute to the debate.
The motion was defeated by 28 to 11. 11 members abstained.
Karavaki said under section 94 of the Constitution, the only way for a sitting Prime Minister to be removed was through a motion of no confidence, barring resignation or death.
He said the nation had to be saved from the road to destruction, and Fiji needed a Prime Minister that could heal its people and not enforce things on the people.
This nation needs to be redeemed, it is apparent we are on the road leading to destruction. I come with a heavy heart. We can see clearly the system brought in by the Fiji government on reforms. Prime Minister now is an enforcer and not a healer. Our land is hurting, our land is crying out to be redeemed.
Karavaki said the PM was a good person but was not a good leader.
Government MP Lorna Eden said the difference between the current Prime Minister and thed Leader of Opposition was confirmed in the 2014 General Elections.
Prime Minister Bainimarama received 202,459 (52 percent) votes in total while the Leader of Opposition, Ro Teimumu Kepa, received 49,485 (13 percent).