Fiji’s Opposition MP Nawaikula’s seat in Parliament vacated

Opposition MP, Niko Nawaikula makes his way to Parliament on Thursday, February 11, 2021. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU/FT FILE

SODELPA and Opposition MP Niko Nawaikula’s seat in Parliament has been vacated in a decision reached by the Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and the Supervisor of Election Mohammed Saneem.

And in a statement issued tonight, SODELPA leader Viliame Gavoka said the Party regretted that decision, acknowledging Mr Nawaikula’s vocal advocacy for the rights of indigenous people.

“He is a fervent advocate of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, making representations to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,” Mr Gavoka said.

He said SODELPA encouraged members and supporters to rally behind Mr Nawaikula in his legal pursuit with the Court of Disputed Returns, and asked supporters to uphold the MP and his family iin their prayers.

“This is an unfortunate turn of event as Hon Nawaikula will not be able to participate in the Parliamentary session next week where we will be debating Bill 17 of 2021.

“This is a subject where his expertise will be greatly missed.”

Mr Gavoka said the Party was also calling on Prime Minister and Minister for iTaukei Affairs Voreqe Bainimarama to withdraw this Bill because it “tramples on the rights of iTaukei landowners, who have neither been consulted nor have given their free, prior, and informed consent”.

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