Former FijiFirst MPs Advised to Join Political Parties for Next General Election

Members of Parliament from the deregistered FijiFirst who choose to remain independent are unlikely to retain their seats in the next general election. Jioji Kotobalavu, a former permanent secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, emphasized that the chances of winning as an independent candidate are negligible, making such efforts a waste of resources.

Kotobalavu stressed that to successfully retain their seats, these MPs must join a political party. “The best party to join is one with a charismatic leader who can attract a significant number of votes,” he remarked.

He further explained that individuals aspiring to stand in the next general elections with a strong cause have a better chance of winning if they align with a political party. The removal of the 5 percent threshold requirement is essential, Kotobalavu added.

During the 2014, 2018, and 2022 elections, the 5 percent threshold required between 23,000 and 27,000 votes. No independent candidate has ever won a seat in Parliament due to this threshold. This also accounts for the failure of many political parties in the 2022 General Election to secure any seats.

Kotobalavu suggested creating more opportunities for individual and group members in regional constituencies so that the public can better identify their MPs. Under the current 2013 Constitution, the single national constituency makes it difficult for people to know their MPs.

For any of the 26 former FijiFirst MPs to have a chance of retaining their seats in 2026, standing as independents is not a viable option. Joining a political party, particularly one with a popular leader, is the only feasible path to success.

Those former FijiFirst MPs who insist on remaining strictly independent have no realistic chance of retaining their seats in the next general election.

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