The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) as a member of the Coalition Government, played a substantial role through significant policy transformations this year
The Party in a social media post stated that amidst the nuanced dynamics of the Fijian coalition government, they stood out as a pivotal influence, imprinting lasting changes on policy directions.
Notable among the policies they championed were abolishment of the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) and debt waiver, reinstating the Great Council of Chiefs, diplomatic mission postings and settlement for the University of the South Pacific grants, collaboration and communication enhancement.
SODELPA asserted the absolute necessity of scrapping TELS and forgiving the debt incurred by TELS students. Their unwavering stance aimed to liberate students from the shackles of educational loans, fostering increased accessibility to higher education.
In the terms of their coalition agreement, SODELPA championed the reinstatement of the “Great Council of Chiefs, a move seen as a crucial step in restoring traditional leadership structures and cultural representation.
SODELPA advocated for strategic diplomatic postings, including missions in the United Kingdom and Washington, DC.
Additionally, they championed a Roving Ambassador to Pacific Island nations and sought a substantial $90 million (US$45 million) settlement for the University of the South Pacific (USP), coupled with the cancellation of the staggering $650 million (US$325 million) TELS debt.
Proactively promoting organizational efficiency, SODELPA designated a focal person to streamline communication and collaboration within the party.
These policies underscore SODELPA’s dedication to education, cultural preservation, and international relations.
However, the implementation of these initiatives was subject to negotiation intricacies within the coalition government.
As a linchpin in the 55-member Parliament, SODELPA played a crucial role, in navigating the delicate balance of power and asserting its influence as a kingmaker.