Mass resignations by founding members shake FijiFirst Party

This upheaval follows FijiFirst's recent confirmation that it had expelled 17 MPs for defying a party directive and voting for a pay rise.

In a dramatic turn of events, the founding members of the FijiFirst party, including former prime minister Frank Bainimarama and ex-attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, have resigned from the party.

Local media reports confirm that party president Ratu Joji Satalaka, vice president Selai Adimaitoga, acting general secretary Faiyaz Koya, and treasurer Hem Chand have also stepped down.

Sayed-Khaiyum disclosed that vice president Ravindran Nair and founding member Salesh Kumar were among the latest to leave. The resignation letters were submitted to the Registrar of Political Parties on Friday, 7 June.

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While speaking to the local media outside court, Sayed-Khaiyum said “So we now have a situation where we have 17 people who voted for a pay rise when the rest of Fiji is suffering.”

“Ordinary people, these police officers, prison wardens, ordinary Fijians who work in factories are not getting a pay rise. But these 17 people who voted for a pay rise compromised the principle of Fiji First. If you read the constitution of Fiji First, it talks about ensuring there’s equality, economic equality, some form of parity that takes cognizance of the working-class people of this country,” he added.

FijiFirst MP Ketal Lal expressed his dismay on Facebook, describing it as a “Sad day for Fiji.”

This upheaval follows FijiFirst’s recent confirmation that it had expelled 17 MPs for defying a party directive and voting for a pay rise.

These MPs plan to contest their expulsion, intending to remain in parliamentary opposition, highlighting internal divisions within Fiji’s largest single party.

Registrar of Political Parties, Ana Mataiciwa, told local media the party’s constitution did not have guidelines on how internal party disputes were resolved, which was in breach of the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Act 2013.

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