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Baba Blames Defeat On 'Politics Of Extremism'

By REGGIE DUTT: September 7, 2001 Wansolwara Online (USP)

SUVA (Pasifik Nius): Deposed Deputy Prime Minister Dr Tupeni Baba last night accepted his defeat in the Fiji general election — but blamed it on the politics of extremism.

He also hinted at uncertaintles over the poll in the wake of poll-rigging allegations against the Soqosoqo Dauvata ni Lewenivanua, which has gained the highest number of seats against all predictions.

The SDL held 28 seats last night, one more than the Fiji Labour Party at 27 with three more seats to be declared.

The New Labour Unity Party leader was beaten on preference votes for SDL after leading in the Samabula/Tamavua open seat.

"The people have spoken and decided to go for politics of extremism as against the moderation policy of the New Labour Unity Party. We accept that, provided, of course, the election has been conducted properly," Dr Baba said on Fiji Television.

He said the mood at the time of the election should be considered.

"We’ve been through a very difficult time. We’ve been through an economic crisis. We’ve been through a bloodbath and it appears now that the people don't want to go for moderation," he said.

Remaining hopeful for the future, Dr Baba said: "Maybe after the people have seen the consequences of politics of extremism, with a strong overlay of racism, they will begin to realise that promises will not be delivered.

"There will be major instability and problems and people will then realise the importance of politics of moderation, politics of getting together people of all races.

"I hope that this is only a temporary move and I don’t think people will continue to push for this kind of politics.

"After a little while they will begin to see the great need for moderation, for peace and stability and for getting people together," he said.

Dr Baba said the future for the country lay in the moderate direction and that’s what his party would keep fighting for.

The party meets today to decide whether the two candidates who have secured seats in Parliament whether to join a likely SDL-led government or Fiji Labour Party-led government — or stay in opposition.


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