SODELPA amends constitution to establish deputy leader’s position

SODELPA party leader Sitiveni Rabuka and party president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) has amended its constitution to establish the position of a deputy leader.

Party president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu said the amendment was necessary to safeguard the party going forward into the 2018 General Election.

Ratu Naiqama said the amendment was done at a recent special general meeting of the party.

He said the deputy leader would be appointed by the party’s management board through a competitive, nationally-recognised and transparent selection process.

Ratu Naiqama clarified that he was not the deputy leader of the party.

“I remain party president, and am not the deputy party leader. At this point in time, SODELPA does not have a deputy party leader or even an acting deputy party leader.

“That will be a decision and process to be undertaken by the party’s management board, under the provisions of the amended party constitution.”

Ratu Naiqama said he spoke to the party leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, who asked him to make clarifications on the position of the party’s deputy leader.

“To clarify further, party members resolved at the general assembly to amend the constitution with the provision that the party president is the default acting party leader in the event the position is vacated for any reason.

This is a temporary position until the management board is convened within seven days to appoint an acting party leader and the acting appointment will cease upon the substantive appointment of a new party leader in accordance with this constitution.

“If the management board is unable to convene due to an emergency or other extraordinary circumstance, the party president shall continue to act in the position or the president may appoint an acting party leader until a new substantive party leader is appointed in accordance with the competitive, transparent processes required under the party constitution.”

Mr Rabuka has a case before the Magistrates Court in Suva and is scheduled to go on trial next week on Monday.

He is charged with one count of providing false declaration of his assets, income and liabilities and is also charged for allegedly breaching his bail condition.

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