News and Comments Monday 22 June

WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT.  Click on this link to read the Fiji Times article on ordinary people's satisfaction with government and what they want from the government elected in September.

POLL RESULTS. The Fiji Times-Tebbutt polls found that people's main concerns are economic such as poverty,  the cost of living and unemployment.

The Fiji Sun-Razor polls, however, show most people feel safer in their homes now than they did before the 2006 takeover (86% to 10% with 4% unsure), and most think Fiji is a better place than it was before (87% to 7% with 6% unsure.) 

The two sets of polls are not contradictory. The Tebbutt poll asked general questions with which those polled by Razor may also have agreed —and still think things are better now than before 2006. 

FIJI'S DIPLOMATIC SUCCESSES.  In this important and revealing video, ABC's Sean Dorney speaks of Fiji's diplomatic successes after it was suspended by the Australia-NZ dominated Pacific Islands Forum, the growing importance of the Fiji-led Pacific Islands Development Forum, and the implications of the recent visit to Fiji by the Indonesian President.

FLP'S FIRST 28 CANDIDATES. Despite the recent court order, FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry says he'll be a candidate in the September Elections. Of the other 28 candidates announced on Saturday there were 10 Taukei, including a Ratu and a church minister,  Lavinia Padarath, Rohit Kishore, Kini Maraiwai, Narendra Padarath, Rupeni Silimaibau, Monica Raghwan, Sekaia Suluka, Ratu Filimpne Ralogaivau, Arvin Dutt, Laisa Bale, Mohammed Anwar Khan, Roserine Lagi, Damondar Nair, Hari Krishna, Josaia Waqabaca, Pratap Sen, Surendra Lal, Solomone Vosarogo, Udit Narayan, Vyais Deo Sharma, Tula Ram, Mohammed Tahir, Rev Joji Koroiwaca, Kamlesh Chandra, Tara Somaiya, Karam Bidesi, Arendra Prasad, and Deo Narayan. 

SOLDELPA-FLP COALITION. Ro Teimumu Kepa who attended the  FLP meeting with other senior SODELPA officials, said the intended SODELPA-FLP coalition was "a relationship based on trust," The two parties were still working on a Memorandum of Agreement. SODELPA repeated its vow to amend the 2013 Constitution if it becomes government.

POLL FINDINGS ON CHAUDHRY'S CHANCES.  Three Fiji Sun-Razor polls since March have asked what people think about Mahendra Chaudhry. To the question 'Should people with criminal convictions be allowed to stand for parliament?' 83% said no. To 'Should Mahendra Chaudhry retire from politics now he's been convicted?', 78% said yes. To 'Can the FLP survive without Chaudhry?' 87% said no.

FLASHBACK TO 2006-7. In an interview reported in Friday's Sydney Morning Herald headed "Fiji military leader admits beatings, torture" cites  Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga as saying,“I wouldn’t deny that these things happened" and  justifying them on the grounds that some people were trying to instigate violence to overthrow the Bainimarama government. They were, he said, creating "a potentially dangerous environment. So it was the lesser of two devils.” 

Tikoitoga said the military will respect the result of the September 17 election. “We will not have another coup, as such – that’s quite definite,” But the military would not  tolerate an elected government rewriting the new constitution.

See also 'Poll Results' (above) that showed an overwhelming number of Fijians thought Fiji safer and better than before the 2006 takeover.

VOTE FOR SODELPA: FIJI'S DAVID v. GOLIATH. I found this appeal to voters on SODELPA's Facebook page and honestly couldn't believe what I read:

"You have the guns, all of the weapons, the rifles and grenades and all of the equipment to hurt us and keep us down. You have the trucks, cars and ships. You have thousands of men and your disposal, army, navy, police and all of the civil service to do your bidding, to sack us from our jobs if we raise our voices, to beat us to death if you like. Yes you are all powerful and through this power you have become rich beyond measure. Indeed you are the Philistine, Goliath.

"Who are we? No one important. We do not have a voice, since you have silenced us and we are faceless, because the bottom of your jackboots are placed on our skulls. We are David, with nothing but the hard pebble of truth in our slingshot of righteousness.

"Now I must go to the Living Word of my Great God Jehovah to read for myself in the Holy Bible how this epic battle ended. I believe the reference is Samuel 17."

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