Leader of the Opposition (Fiji)

Leader of the Opposition (Fiji)

The post of Leader of the Opposition is a political office common in countries that are part of the Commonwealth of Nations. It did not originate in Fiji but has a long tradition; in British constitutional theory, the Leader of the Opposition must pose a formal alternative to the government, ready to form a government himself should the Prime Minister lose the confidence of the House of Representatives. In addition, the Leader of the Opposition chooses 8 of the 32 members of the Senate, Fiji's upper house of Parliament, and has the right to be consulted about the appointment of the Chief Justice.

In Fiji, the Leader of the Opposition is formally appointed by the President. The appointment is not at the president's personal discretion, however, as he is required by the Constitution to appoint the person most acceptable to the majority of the Opposition (defined as members of the House of Representatives who belong to political parties not represented in the Cabinet). In theory, that means the parliamentary leader of the largest Opposition party. In practice, the person most eligible may decline the office, as was the case between 2001 and 2004, when Mahendra Chaudhry, whose Labour Party holds 28 of the 30 Opposition seats in the House of Representatives, adamantly refused to accept the position of Leader of the Opposition, insisting that he and his party wanted representation in the Cabinet instead. Until he reversed his position late in 2004 (following the collapse of negotiations with Prime Minister Qarase), this forced the President to appoint Mick Beddoes, the sole parliamentary representative of the United General Party, as Leader of the Opposition.

List of Leaders of the Opposition in Fiji

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