Winning together means working smart
October 7, 2021
The National Federation Party will work with major opposition parties to form the next government, says NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad.
In a column to be published in The Fiji Times on Saturday, Prof Prasad said opposition parties had to “work smart” to win the next election.
“We do not need to form one party to win the election,” he said.
“Every party that gets more than 5% of the total vote will get its share of the 55 seats in the next Parliament.
“So if Party A gets 40% of the vote, it is likely to get 22 seats. If Party B gets 20% of the vote, it will likely end up with 11 seats. Then they can get together, after the election, to form the Government. And that is what we believe will happen”.
“Proportional representation voting systems exist all around the world. These systems mean that it is often hard for one political party to win a majority of votes. So parties are forced to join coalitions after the elections and work together.
“This is how the system could – and should - work in Fiji. But the D’Hondt system of distribution of seats negates genuine proportional representation.
“NFP is getting ready for the next election right now,” he said. “Ideally we want to be the biggest party in Parliament next time. So we will fight for every vote. But we know other opposition parties will also win seats in Parliament.
“We are confident that the Fiji First Party will not win.
“So – yes. We are listening to the people who want the opposition parties to get together”.
“But we are also saying “look carefully at the rules we are working under. What is the smartest way to work?”
Prof Prasad said it was small parties who could upset the opposition’s plans because if a small party does not get 5% of the vote its votes may not matter when the seat numbers are decided.
He said that if the 12,500 votes of the Unity, HOPE, and Fiji Labour Party had gone to NFP or SODELPA in the 2018 elections, Fiji would have had a SODELPA-NFP Government.
“I am not criticising small parties,” he said. “People must have the right to form parties and put up their viewpoints and ask for people’s votes. I am just pointing out the hard electoral maths of the 2018 election”.
“We did not make these rules. But we have to know how to make them work for us.”