No referendum on flag - Fiji PM

Fiji's Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says there will be no referendum on the change of the national flag.

Bainimarama was responding to a question in Parliament by Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa who asked whether the Fijian Government would consider a referendum given the overwhelming negative reaction to the plans to change the Fiji flag.

“Thank you Madam Speaker, the simple answer is no!” said Bainimarama.

In a supplementary question, Kepa referred to a public poll that was run by a daily publication which reported an 87% vote for a say in whether the flag is to be changed or not, with 66% calling for a referendum and whether this was a collective representation.

Speaker of the House, Dr. Jiko Luveni interjected and clarified that the original question was based on an allegation that there was a majority of people who did not want the flag change and that this could not be verified by the media alone.

In a follow up supplementary question, Opposition MP Semesa Karavaki asked PM Bainimarama to explain why his response was so short, to which Bainimarama replied that the Opposition was against anything progressive.

The Fiji Government has extended submissions to the new flag to December this year.

Meanwhile, Fiji's Electoral Commission has awarded Lautoka businessman Alex O’Connor a seat in Parliament declared vacant following the resignation of Pio Tikoduadua of the ruling FijiFirst party in May. 

This has been confirmed in a Government Gazette dated July 01, 2015. 

O’Connor was the highest ranked out of the candidates of the party who did not get elected to Parliament and is still available to serve at the time of vacancy. He is expected to be sworn in when Parliament reconvenes this week.