Fiji is a country located in the region of Melanesia. Fiji’s domestic policy is characterized by contradictions between the country’s two major ethnic groups: Fiji and Indian. Tensions have led to four military coups since the 1980s. In the latest, in 2006, then-Army Chief Frank Bainimarama took power under the pretext that he would make Fiji a multicultural society without ethnic conflicts. Instead, he led a military dictatorship for eight years before pressures from the outside world forced the regime to hold democratic elections. When the elections were held in September 2014, the old party leader’s party Fiji won first and Bainimarama was elected head of government on a democratic path. Fiji first also won in the autumn 2018 elections.
When Fiji’s political leadership announced in March 2014 that parliamentary elections would be held on September 17 of that year, only two of the 17 parties that were ahead of the 2006 coup were allowed to run for office. In addition, five newly formed parties were allowed to stand, including Fiji first, which was formed in the spring of 2014.
- Countryaah: Country facts and history of Fiji, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
The election was reported to have been calm and accepted by international observers. Fiji first won 59 percent of the vote and received 32 of the 50 seats. Sodelpa was the second largest party with 28 percent (15 seats). The National Federation Party (NFP) gained 5.5 percent and took home the 3 remaining mandates. The turnout was 84 percent. Eight of the members of the new parliament were women.
The insulation is broken
Bainimarama was installed on the Prime Minister’s post on September 22 and two days later he presented his new government. On the same day, the President of Fiji, Dr Jiko Luveni, was first elected as President of Parliament. She became the first woman on the record.
The transition to civilian rule resulted in Fiji regaining full membership in the Commonwealth a few days later and in October the country was allowed to re-join the Pacific Cooperation Forum (PIF) regional cooperation organization (see Foreign Policy and Defense). That same month, major trading partners Australia, New Zealand and the United States lifted their sanctions against Fiji.
In October 2015, Jioji Konrote was elected by Parliament as new president. He took up the post the following month. Jioji Konrote has a military career behind him and was previously Minister in the Government of Bainimarama. Konrote belongs to the small minority of Rotumans, and thus became the first non-Fiji in the presidential post. In August 2018, Konrote was unanimously re-elected by Parliament for a second and final three-year term.
Emergency condition after cyclone
In February 2016, Fiji was hit by a cyclone. Forty-three people perished and the material damage was extensive as Winston swept across the island. Entire villages were leveled and nearly 60,000 people were forced to take refuge in evacuation centers.
An emergency permit was introduced to facilitate rescue work. Emergency aid was flown in from Australia, New Zealand, India and the EU. As a result of the natural disaster, Fiji borrowed $ 50 million from the World Bank in April of that year. It was the first time in 23 years that the country took out a loan from the International Mortgage Institution. The country borrowed an equal amount from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The money would go towards rebuilding the infrastructure, including transport systems.
A year before the planned elections in autumn 2018, Fiji was a more democratic country than five years earlier. At the same time, reports of both human rights violations and restrictions on freedom of the press and opinions were published. The 2010 UN decree criticizing severe media restrictions still applied, even though it was somewhat mitigated. There were also laws that restricted the freedom of assembly. Bainimarama held a dominant position and was Minister for a number of key trade areas, including foreign policy, the important sugar industry and ethnic issues. Internationally, he invested in becoming an actor in the fight against climate change.
Somewhat delayed, Bainimarama announced parliamentary elections until November 2018. It was the second general election held after the military coup in 2006. Seven parties lined up with candidates, including Fiji First and Sodelpa. Sodelpa’s leader Rabuka was indicted in June 2018 for stating inaccurate information about his private income and assets, but was released two days before the election and was thus able to run for office.
As expected, the election turned out to be a victory for Fiji, but the party won by a smaller margin than in the 2014 election. Sodelpa became the second largest party while the National Federation Party (NFP) also entered the legislative assembly. Other parties were left without representation.
FACTS – POLITICS
Matanitu Ko Viti / Republic of Fiji
republic, unitary state
Head of State
President Jioji Konrote (2015–)
Head of government
Prime Minister Josaia “Frank” Voreqe Bainimarama (2007–)
Most important parties with mandates in the last election
Fiji First 27, Sodelpa 21, National Federation Party (NFP) 3 (2018)
Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections
Fiji First 32, Sodelpa 15, National Federation Party (NFP) 3 (2014)
72% in the 2018 parliamentary elections, 85% in the 2014 parliamentary elections, 64% in the 2006 parliamentary elections
2022 parliamentary elections