Elections in Fiji to be held in 2014

Commodore Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, Fiji’s military chief, has promised to hold general elections by September 2014. The elections would be the first since he seized control of the archipelago in a coup in December 2006. This latest announcement, which followed Bainimarama’s 7 January 2012 decision to end emergency laws that had been in place since he took power, is the latest in a series of statements promising democratic elections and constitutional reform. The regime has announced a 12-month process of constitutional consultation, including civic education and meetings, which will pave the way for elections in 2014. 

In early March, Bainimarama also announced plans to abolish the Great Council of Chiefs, a body of 55 tribal leaders established under British rule in the late 1870s, calling it “a product of our colonial past.” The council did not support the putsch of 2006. 

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba visited Fiji at the beginning of March, signalling the association’s intent to aid and support the electoral proceedings. Laisenia Qarase, the ousted prime minister, has declared that he will stand in 2014, and Bainimarama has not ruled out contesting the elections himself. Fiji was fully suspended from the Commonwealth in September 2009 for failing to respond to a Commonwealth deadline for elections by 2010.


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