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Chiefs and Indians: Elections and Politics in Contemporary Fiji

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Title: Chiefs and Indians: Elections and Politics in Contemporary Fiji
Authors: Lal, Brij V.
LC Subject Headings: Oceania -- Periodicals.
Issue Date: 1993
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation: Lal, B. V. 1993. Chiefs and Indians: Elections and Politics in Contemporary Fiji. The Contemporary Pacific 5 (2): 275-301.
Abstract: Fiji went to the polls in late May 1992, five years after the coups of 1987, and two
years after the promulgation of a new constitution that entrenches indigenous
Fijian supremacy in the political process. The elections were a welcome small step
toward the restoration of a semblance of parliamentary democracy in Fiji. They
also produced a result that confounded conventional wisdom. Sitiveni Rabuka
became prime minister with the support of the Fiji Labour Party he had ousted
from power in 1987. The National Federation Party-Fiji Labour Party Coalition
disintegrated on the eve of the elections, with the two parties engaging in a bitter
contest for votes in the Indo-Fijian community. Fragmentation was also the trend
in the Fijian community. These developments and the politics behind them are
considered in detail within a framework that looks retrospectively at the major
political and economic developments since the coups. The issues examined
include the interim administration's economic policies, which unwittingly helped
forge alliances across ethnic and ideological divides; the controversy over the
1990 constitution and its rejection by the opposition Indo-Fijian parties; the emergence
of new political parties and conflicts in the Fijian camp; the disarray in the
Coalition over whether or not to boycott the election; the campaign; and the race
for prime ministership between Rabuka and Josefata Kamikamica. Drama aside,
the elections failed to address some of the fundamental structural problems that
face the people of Fiji and will need to be addressed sooner or later.
ISSN: 1043-898X
Appears in Collections:TCP [The Contemporary Pacific], 1993 - Volume 5, Number 2

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