BY: PENI KOMAISAVAI
Strengthening the party will be the priority of SODELPA's newly elected party president, Ro Filipe Tuisawau.
Speaking to journalists int he northern town of Savusavu following his landslide election for the party presidency post, Ro Filipe says by the end of the year, Fiji will be just two years away from the next general elections, so strengthening the structures of the party will be a key priority.
He also promised that his leadership would lead by example.
Another priority he said would be for the opposition to push for review of the 2013 constitution.
An economist by profession who has worked in a number of regional organisations like the University of the South Pacific, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation and the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Ro Filipe contested the October 2018 general elections under the SODELPA ticket, and won a seat in the Fijian parliament.
He beat acting party president and fellow opposition MP, Anare Jale by 524 cotes to 157 to take the leadership post during a secret ballot at the party's annual meeting today.
The position was vacated by Cakaudrove paramount chief and senior opposition parliamentarian Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.
The only other position that was confirmed at the meeting today was that of Adi Litia Qionibaravi as a new Vice President of SODELPA.
She has stepped down as party general secretary after her election into parliament in last year's elections.
She replaces Ro Dona Takalaiyale who did not seek re-election.
Today's meeting in Savusavu did not vote for a party leader and a deputy leader, nor vote on their new general secretary.
Party Vice President Anare Jale told IB Online that the positions would be filled in next year's AGM.
Until then, Sitiveni Rabuka, who's also the leader of the opposition will continue as party leader.
The GS position meanwhile has been advertised and the successful candidate would be selected by the party management board.
The party's 2018 financial accounts were also tabled and adopted at today's meeting, showing a deficit of $24,760.
The accounts show that while SODELPA raised revenue of $991,111 last year, one third of this, some $330,550 coming from donations from SODELPA supporters who are working overseas, the United States and Australia particularly, last year's total expenditure amounted to $1,015,871.
Bulk of the cost was for the party's EARMS election result tabulation software, and salaries and allowances.
About $25,579 went towards the party's legal fees and $60,000 to the Party Leader's awareness tours.