Editorial comment – Poll race heats up

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and the FijiFirst party provisional candidates at their head office at Brown street in Suva. Picture: ATU RASEA/FILE

FIJIFIRST party leader Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday took a swipe at the National Federation Party and the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA).

He said he does not want them to be in opposition in Parliament after next month’s general election. He spoke in front of party supporters at the party’s family fun day at Syria Park in Nausori yesterday.

He said he did not want parties that would insist on talking about race and religion in the opposition. He claimed that SODELPA was formed to look after the interest of the iTaukei people while the NFP was formed to look after the interest of Fijians of Indian descent.

FijiFirst, he insisted, stood for equality. Mr Bainimarama spoke about his actions of 2006 when he took over the government, insisting he brought about security and stability to the nation.

“If I had not done what I did in 2006, most of them would be running through the cane fields. I am serious, they don’t know what had transpired in 2000 and 2006,” he insisted.

In response, NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad said it was useless to urge the PM to campaign on issues because he has ‘insatiable appetite to stoop to gutter level and utter lies’.

SODELPA general secretary Adi Litia Qionibaravi said Mr Bainimarama’s comments were unfortunate because the SODELPA was a multiracial party and it would look after the interest of every Fijian.

The battle lines are drawn.

We are now firmly into election mode. This early exchange of words sets off what is going to be an intense lead-up to the elections set for November 14.

The war of words is indicative of election periods.

This is when registered parties will fire off salvos, to some extent, obviously hoping to nullify the effectiveness of other parties.

It is at this time that we should sit back and embrace all that is happening around us.

The challenge is on us as voters to embrace what each party and candidate is offering, and work out our next course of action.

Being aware of manifestos, the calibre of candidates and parties is important.

Then there is the other element which deals with keeping an ear to the ground, absorbing as much information as possible and making a well informed choice at the polls. But one thing is certain, exciting times are coming.

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