Frank Bainimarama, the preceding PM, did reasonably well in the parliamentary election in December 2022 securing a plurality of 26 seats in the 55-seat House for his Fiji First party. However, he could not dislodge the momentum of a unified, at least in spirit, opposition led by former PM, Sitiveni Rabuka. The policy content of the contenders’ platforms was vague. Communal tensions threatened to reappear. Both men have experience with coups. The international community invested heavily in the election machinery. What smoothed the contested result was a clear popular indication that it was time for a change. The election succeeded in its purpose. The Opposition now has to make their coalition work.
Three Fiji parties form coalition to unseat longtime government
Sitiveni Rabuka to be Pacific island’s first new prime minister in 16 years
People’s Alliance Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka leaves his polling station in Suva, Fiji, on Dec. 14. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas via Reuters)
December 20, 2022 19:17 JSTSYDNEY (Reuters) — Fiji will have a new leader for the first time in 16 years after a national election resulted in three parties putting together a coalition to form a government in the Pacific island nation, dislodging Frank Bainimarama’s Fiji First party.The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) announced on Tuesday it had decided to form a coalition with Sitiveni Rabuka’s People’s Alliance and the National Federation Party.The decision came after two days of deliberations and rival presentations by former Prime Minister Bainimarama and the People’s Alliance party, after a national election last week resulted in a deadlock.nullAt a livestreamed news conference, Rabuka thanked the people of Fiji.”They have voted for change and we have given them that,” he said.National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad told reporters, “Today the leaders of the People’s Alliance party, the National Federation Party and the Social Democratic Liberal Party agreed to form a new government.”He said Rabuka would become the new prime minister of Fiji under the deal, and a “strong and united coalition government” was a Christmas present to the people of Fiji.nullADVERTISINGnullA Pacific trade and transport hub with a population of 900,000, including a sizable Indian ethnic group, Fiji had a history of military coups until the constitution was changed in 2013 to remove a race-based electoral system.Bainimarama, who came to power in a 2006 coup, won democratic elections in 2014 and 2018.Bainimarama had a high international profile for climate change advocacy and has been chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum, the regional diplomatic bloc, as it sought this year to manage rising security tensions between the United States and China.Rabuka is also a former prime minister and former coup leader.
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