Fijians will head to the polls today to vote on all 51 seats of parliament. It will be Fiji’s second
Fijians will head to the polls today to vote on all 51 seats of parliament. It will be Fiji’s second election since a 2006 coup—the country’s fourth in 20 years.
The two frontrunners of today’s election are former coup leaders. Incumbent Frank Bainimarama—leader of the 2006 coup—will seek re-election with the FijiFirst party. His primary competition is Sitiveni Rabuka of the SODELPA party, who instigated two coups in 1987. Mr Rabuka was only cleared to contest the election on Monday, after being acquitted on fraud charges.
While Rabuka is popular with Fiji’s indigenous population, Bainimarama is expected to retain the prime ministership handily, possibly adding to the 32 seats won by FijiFirst in 2014. Both leaders have assured Fijians that they will accept today’s result, but Bainimarama’s resolve may be tested if he suffers a shock defeat. Indeed, the current PM has the support of Fiji’s politically powerful military, giving him the power to reject an unfavourable result, albeit at the cost of sparking instability.
With relative stability over the past 12 years responsible for an influx of foreign investment that has seen Fiji’s economy grow around 3% per year, the actions of today’s loser will have important ramifications for Suva’s future.
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