Updated: 7:50am – Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) leader Sitiveni Rabuka has backed down on his resolve not to allow Member of Parliament Aseri Radrodro to contest 2018 General Elections under the Party banner.

This came following an emergency meeting that was held between Mr Rabuka and SODELPA supporters from Naitasiri which was convened yesterday at the SODELPA headquarters in Suva.

It is understood that the Tui Cakau and Party president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu played a role in resolving the impasse which was threatening to once again split the fragile Party.

Well placed SODELPA sources confirmed that it was decided that Mr Radrodro will be given the Party ticket and will contest 2018 general elections under SODELPA.

But all is still not well. Word from Naitasiri is that the majority of supporters had decided that Naitasiri will no longer liaise with Mr Rabuka and that the two members who did go for the meeting went without the blessings and approval of the elders.

Naitasiri had initially wanted five of their choice to receive tickets under SODELPA but only three tickets were allocated to them. While negotiations on the numbers were ongoing, the news of Mr Radrodro being dropped became public knowledge.

With this new twist, Naitasiri supporters became further agitated and decided that they will no longer deal with Mr Rabuka and that any meeting to take place to discuss the matter would need to be held in Naitasiri and not have Naitasiri elders summoned to SODELPA headquarters.

A statement was also released after the meeting, but how much input the majority from Naitasiri had in the statement is also being disputed.

While this meeting was to be one where olive branches would be offered, it has not gone down well with most in Naitasiri.

Sources also confirm that the decision on Mr Radrodro was changed following an article published in the Fiji Sun where it was revealed that if push came to shove, Mr Rabuka’s position as Party leader would also be insecure.

While it has been confirmed that Mr Rabuka’s role as Party leadership was secured for now, some are still planning to change a number of people on the Management Board.

No response has been received to questions emailed to Party general secretary Adi Litia Qionibarani, sent on Monday.

-Fiji Sun

Featured image: Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) leader Sitiveni Rabuka

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