It was 12 years ago when businesswoman Mere Samisoni last spoke in the Fijian Parliament, before her term was cut short by the 2006 takeover.
Ms Samisoni was sworn-in yesterday before Members of Parliament and the Speaker of the House Dr Jiko Luveni in the last stages of the 2018 Parliament Sitting before the General Elections.
Ms Samisoni fills the vacant position left by the late SODELPA MP Ratu Sela Nanovo, who died last month.
Ms Samisoni in her maiden speech said she felt duty bound to tell MPs that the method unilaterally chosen to fill vacancies was not democratic.
“It denies the people the right to vote in a by-election, as elections provide a valuable snapshot of voter opinions between national polls,” Ms Samisoni said.
She said it could not be assumed that their feelings were static as public moods change.
She believes that when a vacancy arises between elections the voters should decide the new MP.
“That is what democracy is about, it is to update information and service delivery to the people,” Ms Samisoni said.
“It is not about trying to keep existing numbers in parliament as they are.”
In her first choice of topics, Ms Samisoni raised concerns on:
- The withholding of demographic information from the census.
- The need to have ‘talanoa’ in the Parliament House; as the Prime Minister Voreqe Banimarama held similar sessions in Bonn, Germany.
- To ensure more ‘talanoa’ to address the environmental awareness.