Former FijiFirst MPs Advised to Join Political Parties for Next Election

Members of Parliament from the deregistered FijiFirst who remain strictly independent might struggle to retain their seats in the next general election, according to Jioji Kotobalavu, former permanent secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. Kotobalavu believes their chances of winning as independent candidates are virtually zero, making it a waste of effort and resources. He advises that to successfully retain their seats, these members must join a political party, preferably one with a charismatic leader who can attract a significant number of votes.

Kotobalavu noted that the removal of the 5 percent threshold requirement is crucial, as this threshold, which amounted to between 23,000 and 27,000 votes in the 2014, 2018, and 2022 elections, has prevented independent candidates from winning seats in Parliament. He explained that many political parties did not secure any seats in the 2022 General Election because they failed to meet this threshold.

Furthermore, Kotobalavu emphasized the need for more individual and group members in regional constituencies so that the electorate can identify their MPs. Under the current 2013 Constitution, there is only one national constituency, making it difficult for people to know their representatives.

In conclusion, Kotobalavu reiterated that for any of the 26 former FijiFirst MPs to have a real chance of retaining their seats in Parliament in 2026, they must join a political party. He firmly stated that those who choose to remain strictly independent have no chance of success in the next general election.

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