The power of one vote: Fiji PM Rabuka

Fiji’s new Prime Minister visited parliament in his new capacity this week.

“The Honourable Speaker and I were both voted into office by the power of one vote,” he reminded parliamentary staff.

“When you come in with a big majority, you probably get well-headed thinking you’re the most popular person in the nation.

“When you’re voted in by the power of one vote, then you realise you carry the half plus that have voted for you and the nearly half that didn’t vote for you. That weighs you down, makes you aware of the heavy responsibility for having to lead the nation, knowing that almost half did not vote for you.

“You have to tread cautiously and wisely in the leadership of the nation.”

Rabuka made the comments as he was traditionally welcomed to the Fijian Parliament by the Speaker of the Fijian Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and the Secretariat on Tuesday. 

Prime Minister Rabuka congratulated the parliamentary staff on conducting the election of the Prime Minister, for the first time in the history of Fiji, on the floor of parliament. 

“Thank you for being steadfast on the conducting of the vote on the floor of Parliament”, PM Rabuka said.

“For you, staff, it was just following the Constitution and the Standing Orders. But for me, it was the defining moment on how I would serve, and continue to serve this country.”

PM Rabuka has reminded the Executive Management of the Fijian Parliament that the Leader of the Opposition is to be provided with all the necessary support to properly carry out the functions of that Office.

He stressed that such support should address some of the difficulties that he and the Hon. Speaker faced when they were Opposition leaders in the previous Parliament.

He added that the Leader of the Opposition needs to be provided with his necessary budget and should also be given Government quarters unlike previous holders of that office.