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Chants, Dances And Singing Greet Tavola's Win

Chants, Dances And Singing Greet Tavola's Win For SDL

By SHIRLEEN GOUNDAR and AKKA RIMON: September 6, 2001 Wansolwara Online (USP)

SUVA (Pasifik Nius): Caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's Soqosoqo ni Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party was today confident of winning the Fiji general election, with scenes of celebration already breaking out at Suva's main counting centre.

The SDL shed at Suva Grammar School was filled with supporters singing, dancing and sprinkling each other with baby powder.

Interim Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola's victory in the Lami Open seat announced on the radio sparked shrills of joy and happiness. The crowd exploded into chants, dances and applause.

"SDL is going to win. We have a possibility of winning the remaining open seats," said Fiti Kelese, the party's North Eastern General constituency executive.

Late today SDL had increased its tally to 27 seats, matching the Fiji Labour Party.

However, it won three surprise Suva urban open electorates on preferential votes.

Among surprise losers were FLP's deposed Minister for Women, Culture and Social Welfare Lavenia Padarath, who was finally defeated in the Nausori/Naitasiri open seat on the fifth count by SDL's Asaeli Masilaca.

The atmosphere in the SDL shed was filled with excitement, while other parties looked on.

The neighbouring shed of the New Labour Unity Party tried to drown the joy of the SDL supporters by raising the volume of their radio and banging on the corrugated iron roofing.

In the middle of the SDL shed were supplies of fruit and vegetables for supporters who eagerly helped themselves.

Some SDL supporters gave their views to Wansolwara Online.

"I don't think that any indigenous group can allow outsiders to come and take total control of their land. Fijians should take control over their land and be responsible for their actions,"a indigenous Fijian living in Australia said.

The man who came all the way from Australia to support Qarase's SDL did not wish to be named.

He said that after Fijians had been given control of their land, they then should invite outsiders to work together for the development of Fiji.

+++niuswire

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