Crossbenchers Navigate Political Waters

Opposition Leader Inia Seruiratu says a crossbencher’s vote is flexible and tradeable.

He stated that the nine Parliament members who declared their support for Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka would remain independents but act as crossbenchers. Their votes would vary depending on the issues brought before Parliament.

Former FijiFirst MP Mosese Bulitavu noted that their support for the Prime Minister would not impact their roles as members of the Opposition.

Crossbenchers are usually independents or from minor parties and typically are not part of the Government. This status allows them to decide independently on their voting stance in Parliament.

“I think that most people don’t understand how crossbenchers work, particularly for independents,” said Mr. Seruiratu. “In other jurisdictions, you are an independent before you enter Parliament. You contest the elections, but when you come into Parliament, you work as crossbenchers, which is likely what the nine members have opted for. They will remain independents, but their vote is flexible. Based on the lobby from other parties and on the issues before Parliament, their votes are tradable when it comes to voting on issues.”

One of the MPs pledging support to Mr. Rabuka, Mosese Bulitavu, stated they would continue collaborating with the Opposition members. He emphasized their role as ‘middle blocks,’ facilitating dialogue between Government and Opposition and promoting unity.

“I think the leader of Opposition has already confirmed to the media last week that he is still open for office from the PM, and we are optimistic that we will be working in the future,” Mr. Bulitavu said. “For the nine MPs, we are part of the middle block, and that will not stop us from working with the Opposition Leader.”

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