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Opposition MPs wear black ribbons

 

Sep 12, 2016 04:18:36 PM

Opposition MPs wear black ribbons Members of the Opposition wore black ribbons at the opening of the new session of Fijian Parliament today.

Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa said they decided to wear the black ribbons to express with concern the continued efforts to silence any noise of dissent.

She said they were also protesting the suspension of two Opposition Members of Parliament, the changing of the Parliamentary Standing Orders by the Government to suit its legislative agenda; the changing of the Parliamentary Standing Orders by the Government to remove Professor Biman Prasad as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee; the use of the Parliamentary Standing Order 51 by the Government to unduly fast-track legislation (lack of proper scrutiny).

She added that they also protested the refusal of the Government to ensure an Office of Independent Parliamentary Counsel is established; the preservation of various draconian decrees and promulgation in the 2013 Constitution- including the decrees regulating the media, electoral and political party issues; the lack of any amendment or improvement to those decrees particularly as the Attorney General remains the Minister for Elections while being the Secretary General of the Fiji First political party; and the non-implementation of the recommendation of the MOG and Electoral Commission to the Fiji Electoral System.

“The abovementioned, are only a few of the many issues that we have been raising continuously and will continue in our effort to uphold democratic principles in our role as the Opposition,” Ro Teimumu added.

Meanwhile, two Opposition MPs, Professor Biman Prasad and Prem Singh of the National Federation Party boycotted the opening of Parliament in what Party President Tupou Draunidalo claimed was a protest over the continuing political persecution and intimidation of the Opposition and the draconian muzzling of free expression and assembly in Fiji.

By Reginald Chandar

 

 

 

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