From Paramountcy to Equality

Paper presented by Akuila Yabaki.
CEO of Citizens’ Constitutional Forum
At University of Auckland, New Zealand


Fiji has had a turbulent political history with five coups in just over 20 years. Conflict between the two major ethnic groups (Indigenous Fijian and indo-Fijian) has often been blamed for this instability, but the reality of the situation is much more complex. Broader social problems, such as poverty, access to education, lack of good governance and a struggle for wealth, land resources and power, have contributed to the political instability. Religion has also played a role in the political instability, with certain Church leaders supporting coups in the interest of creating a Christian State. In addition, the structure of government under Fiji’s three Constitutions has had a profound impact on ethnic division by encouraging segregation and discrimination rather than equality.

Colonialism largely contributed to the ethnic mix by introducing indentured laborers from India in the late 19th Century, but there has been a continued failure to critically address the issues which perpetuate the ethnic division. This division was encouraged by the ‘divide and rule’ mentality of the colonial power. This attitude was designed for effective administration of colonies rather than to promote racial harmony, and has left a painful legacy for many countries that continue to struggle with these issues today. The Fiji 1997 Constitution’s[1] entrenchment of the principle of “paramountcy’ of Indigenous Fijian interests (a remnant if the colonial era) and a distinctive lack of social understanding and acceptance of different cultures and ethnic groups ensure that this division remains today. The role of the military and its dominance by one ethnic group (Indigenous Fijians) has perpetuated the divisive political economy and the politico-administrative structures.

In order to break away from its history of racial politics, there is a need to address the political and legal structure to ensure fair representation and participation in government for different ethnic groups. Likewise there is a need to deal with the social aspect (the attitude or mindset of the Fiji people) that contributes to the division and conflict.

An ongoing national dialogue process could support and facilitate both aspects and is a good starting point for reconciling the divide between ethnic groups. Once a truly participatory and representative government is firmly established, a truth and reconciliation tribunal could be used to further ease lingering ethnic tension and address the problems of the past. A multi-dimensional approach which considers the need for constitutionalism and the rule of law in addition to an open, inclusive dialogue is essential if Fiji is to become a just, equitable and stable society.

Fiji’s System of Government

By the time of independence in 1970, the Fiji population was more or less equally balanced between Indo-Fijians and Indigenous Fijians, [2] with a small percentage of other ethnic communities (which included other Pacific Islanders, Europeans and Chinese). The system of government inherited was based on the Westminster parliamentary system, and included communal voting which encouraged each ethnic group to focus on their own communities’ interests.

Over time, the system of government inherited or imposed by colonial rulers has been modified by constitutional developments, but not all these changes have been positive. There has been a systematic failure to embrace the substantial reforms required to promote the principle of equality in the political arena. The 1997 Constitution has perhaps been the closest to achieving this,[3] however ethno-political conflict since the Constitution has been adopted would suggest otherwise. The perception that equal rights equates to the destruction of indigenous group rights has caused much of Fiji’s political instability.[4] In this sense, it was probably less of a failure in the politico-legal structure (or the Constitution) itself and more of a social misunderstanding that lead to the instability in 2000.

A constitution may unite different ethnic groups for the common purpose of forming an effective government, but it can also polarize division. Constitution-making in itself can form part of a peace-building process[5] between different groups and may encourage dialogue or reconciliation. However, it is unreasonable to think that a Constitution alone can address the simmering racial tensions of a nation.

Developing the 1997 Constitution

Perhaps the most redeeming feature of the 1990 Constitution was that it provided a review clause that led to the creation of the 1997 Constitution. Politicians and civil society collectively managed to persuade government to uphold its commitment to reviewing the Constitution and in 1995 the Fiji Constitutional Review Commission (the report of which is known as the “Reeves report”) was appointed and chaired by Sir Paul Reeves (former Governor-General of New Zealand), Professor Brij Lal and Tomasi Vakatora.

This was the first time that there were widespread public consultations before the drafting of a Constitution in Fiji, and extensive submissions were received from local organisations and individuals as well as international experts and officials from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, United States, and England. The Commission made recommendations for “promoting racial harmony and national unity and the economic and social advancement of all communities and bearing in mind internationally recognized principles and standards of individual and group rights”[6].

However, not all the recommendations in the Reeves Report were adopted in the new Constitution. The Reeves Report recommended a gradual phasing out of all communal seats so that eventually all seats would be open rather than ethnically divided. Instead, the 1997 Constitution provided for a greater number of open seats than its predecessor but the communal seats remained.

In 1992, parliamentarian Jai Jam Reddy commented that you could have multiracialism in two ways:

You can…have multiracial parties… That kind of multiracialism is, maybe, a bit premature for Fiji, perhaps we are not ready for it… The communal pools [sic – pulls?] are extremely strong… we are locked into a situation where we will continue to look into the indefinite future in terms of race… There is another kind of multiracialism… Let us each be in our separate racial compartment… Let communal solidarity prevail… Let everyone be united, but from our respective positions of unity, let us accept that we must co-exist and work together… It may be… that that is a more realistic approach.[7]

Therefore, an attempt was made at the last minute to bring parties together through a multi-party cabinet.[8] This power sharing arrangement was flawed from the beginning. One flaw was that they were unclear, resulting in subsequent litigation[9] over the true meaning of the power-sharing arrangement and the composition of Cabinet.

It also failed to recognize that, to make this system work, goodwill and trust between the communities was needed, qualities that did not exist at the time. In South Africa, a power-sharing arrangement was successful for a transitional period, but it may not be sustainable or realistic in the long term. Power-sharing arrangements have had a checkered history: there is evidence to suggest that such power-sharing arrangements can work under a proportional representation voting system (for example, in Northern Ireland), but not under the ‘majoritarian’ alternative voting (AV) system, as was adopted in the Fiji 1997 Constitution.[10]

This alternative-vote (AV) electoral system, which was intended to promote moderation and co-operation across ethnic lines,[11] in fact resulted in greater polarization of political interests. Instead of partnering with other moderate groups, preferences were allocated to those parties perceived to be the least threat, promoting rather than tempering extreme political views.

In addition to this, the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee that reviewed the Reeves Report failed to consider that the recommendations should be taken as a whole with various aspects of the political structure complimenting each other.[12] The parliamentary process used to implement the 1997 Constitution diluted the effectiveness of some of the recommendations designed to promote racial harmony.

Ethno-Political conflict in 2000

In spite of some flaws, the 1997 Constitution was a comprehensive and advanced document with a strong focus on human rights. The first true test for the Constitution came not long after the first elections were held in 1999. An Indo-Fijian party[13] led by Mahendra Chaudhry won the elections. Some Indigenous-Fijians found this outcome unacceptable and felt that they were deceived by the constitutional review process.

Old fears resurfaced and the Indigenous-Fijian community felt that their cultural institutions were threatened by the election result. This perception seems to be unfounded. Far from eroding indigenous rights, the 1997 Constitution provided a protectionist approach to indigenous Fijian interests and tried to strike an acceptable balance between individual and group rights.

The increased racial tensions following the election culminated in the 2000 civilian led coup by George Speight. Due to the inability of the State to function whilst Parliament was held hostage by Speight, the military assumed control of Fiji and advised the President[14] to abrogate the 1997 Constitution. In a decision[15] that became known internationally as “the case that stopped a coup”[16] an indigent Indo-Fijian farmer successfully challenged the abrogation of the Constitution on the basis that it took away his rights. In this manner, the judiciary played a vital role in restoring political stability and constitutional rule.

Qarase was appointed caretaker Prime Minister by Commodore Bainimarama and in spite of the Court’s decision, the Chaudhry government was not reinstated. Instead, Qarase led Fiji to elections from the enviable position of incumbent Prime Minister. Qarase’s lack of adherence to the strict terms of the Constitution at this time subsequently attracted criticism from the Court of Appeal, when he himself was seeking to be reinstated after the December 2006.

Even though elections were held in 2001, ethnic tensions between communities remained high. Some people were tried and convicted for their roles in the 2000 coup and the violence that ensued, whilst others were allowed to continue in government or chiefly positions. It was this arbitrary application of justice and the suggestion of amnesties (including for convicted offenders) under the Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill 2006 which enraged advocates for the rule of law and victims of the events of 2000.[17]

There was no attempt to offer compensation or other relief to those who were harmed, evicted or had their property damaged by the violence following the 2000 coup. The failure to adequately address calls for justice and the emerging social and economic problems, such as poverty and access to land, compounded the political problems. Land leases continued to expire with each passing year, and no attempt was made to reform the Fijian Administration to encourage development and improve access to land. Poverty was on the rise and the number of people living in squatter settlements continues to increase. Resentment was allowed to simmer with no genuine attempts at reconciliation.

The 2006 Coup – Eliminating Racial Politics?

In the 2001 elections, government reverted back to an Indigenous Fijian party (the SDL) whose policies gradually became more divisive. After winning the subsequent elections in May 2006, a number of controversial bills were introduced which sought to strengthen and expand indigenous group rights.[18] The government and opposition (an Indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian party respectively) made cross allegations of engaging in hate speech,[19] signaling that tensions had not abated.

Citing racism, corruption and economic decline[20] as a grave threat to the security of the nation, Bainimarama seized control of the country on 5 December 2006 and assumed the Executive Authority of the President. The Prime Minister was dismissed and parliament dissolved. On handing executive authority back to President Iloilo in January 2007, Bainimarama was appointed Interim Prime Minister and has continued in this role since then.

A legal challenge of the 2006 takeover was commenced by the ousted Prime Minister Qarase. The same judge who dogmatically supported the 1997 Constitution after the 2000 coup[21] reasoned that the President of Fiji has prerogative powers to act outside of the Constitution. [22] In essence, the decision gave a carte blanche to the unelected President[23] to rule by decree for an indefinite period of time. This decision was legally flawed and generated substantial criticism from the public and the legal profession. It was overturned by a Court of Appeal decision[24] six months later. The effect of the Appeal Court’s decision was that the interim government was declared unlawful, and the Court recommended that a caretaker civilian government be installed to lawfully dissolve parliament under the Constitution and call for elections. It held that the President only has a limited power to act outside the Constitution for the purpose of returning Fiji to constitutional rule.

On 10 April 2009, one day after the Court of Appeal decision declared, the President purporteded to abrogate the Constitution, dismissed the entire judiciary and has since ruled by decree, in an attempt to create “a new legal order”[25]. In many ways, these events have had a more substantial impact on the institutions of government than the 2006 coup.[26] The reforms since April 2009, particularly to the composition of government, constitutional offices and the judiciary surpasses the comparatively minor changes made after December 2006.

Provided that there is a sense of ownership in the Constitution by the citizens of a country, it can be an effective tool in regulating the actions of government. It was not so much a failure in the framework of the 1997 Constitution that led to the 2006 coup, but the failure (particularly by Fiji’s leaders) to continually support the Constitution itself. A Constitution is like a house. It may be a good house with solid foundations, but if the machinery of government operates outside that house, it becomes unused and irrelevant. The machinery of government was operating outside the Constitution long before the Qarase v Bainimarama Appeals decision. The inherent weakness of the judicial system to withstand a constitutional crisis was revealed by events since that decision.[27]

In 2000, the Fiji Constitution was a powerful tool for challenging coups and military takeovers in the past, but it is unrealistic to think that this alone can heal the ethnic division and create a stronger sense of national unity. A constitution creates, binds and empowers the institutions of government[28], but it is the people who make any system of government function. In a paper by CCF and Minority Rights Group International following the 2000 coup, it was noted: “If community leaders do not commit themselves to Fiji’s 1997 Constitution and a new Constitution were to once again be imposed through a divisive constitution review process, ethnic relations will continue to deteriorate, the plight of vulnerable minorities worsen, and Fiji’s economic and social development prospects will be harmed.”[29]

It is difficult to assess the extent to which the 2006 coup has contributed to a reduction in ethno-political conflict, if at all. On the one hand, the coup was carried out with the proclaimed objective of combating racism. However, previous coups perpetrated under the banner of eliminating racism have subsequently been shown to entrench and enhance the interests of the Indigenous Fijian community. By contrast, the 2006 coup leaders have taken steps that appear to be contrary to the interests of Indigenous Fijians. It has prevented the enactment of laws by the Qarase government that would have enhanced Indigenous interests. It also led to the disbanding of the GCC and changing other aspects of the Fijian Administration, although proposed reforms in this area remain largely unknown. These actions could disenfranchise a large part of the Indigenous Fijian community who could see it as a threat to their right of self-determination.

It is also said that there is support for the current government from elements of various ethnic communities. However, it remains difficult to assess the real reaction by different communities to the events of 10 April 2009 because of strict media censorship under emergency regulations[30] that are likely to continue for some time. Gauging a true public response to these events in a climate of fear and oppression will be difficult if not impossible to obtain. Also, censorship introduced in April 2009 only serves to suppress public debate essential for communities to build inter-ethnic relationships and multiculturalism. Breaking down cultural barriers and racial stereotypes is only likely to occur through open and frank discussion on the core reasons for these beliefs.

In other ways the actions of the military are incongruous with their claims to eliminate racial discrimination and introduce ‘true’ democracy. For example, the continued militarisation of high offices of government and appointments to statutory corporations are not conducive to building a culture of democracy in Fiji. Likewise, ethnic diversity is hardly represented in the composition of the military.

In addition to this, there is the evangelising of the police force by the “Christian Crusade”[31] that has adopted “the Jesus strategy” as the way to fight crime. Religious and racial discrimination are often closely linked, and in Fiji, religious and ethnic ties remain very strong. This type of religious discrimination would primarily marginalise the Indo-Fijian community and other people belonging to ethnic and religious minorities.

There is a real possibility that we may see a shift away from traditional ethno-political conflict which is primarily based on race, to ethnic conflict that is internal and cuts across the two major ethnic groups. Such division is already evident within the traditional Fijian Administration with individual Chiefs either supporting or opposing the Interim Government. This shift and the internal ethnic tension cannot be ignored as it complicates the dispute and may hamper attempts to achieve long term political stability if it is not genuinely addressed.

Dialogue & bringing people together

There have been a few attempts since December 2006 to bring people together to try and address the past problems of political instability. The major one was the NCBBF, which was established to bring people together to talk about moving the country forward. The process attracted considerable support, but it also attracted strong opposition by those that refused to participate (including the Methodist Church). The Charter process attempted to address past conflict and provide potential solutions through Chapters such as “Ending the Coup Culture” and “The role of the Military”. The process ultimately resulted in a document that could form the basis for continued debate and dialogue. Critics of the Charter would argue that the lack of inclusivity and perceived flaws in the process of consultation makes the Charter is more divisive than unifying.

The final document was endorsed by the President and the interim government was given a mandate by the President to implement the Charter. Whilst the interim government has purported to be implementing the Charter, they have failed to act consistent with the charter, and in particular the spirit of it. The Charter was always intended to be implemented by consensus and consultation.

This PPDF process commenced in mid 2008 to bring the major political parties together and to discuss electoral reform and other issues. The International community[32] offered their support to this process provided that it was inclusive, independently facilitated, time bound and without any predetermined outcome.

The process started off promisingly through the Political Leaders Dialogue Process. In March 2009, 15 local civil society organisations were invited to be a part of the PPDF. The selection process for these organisations was not entirely transparent. Political parties were to make 2 nominations each and the final 15 were selected by the Prime Minister. Not surprisingly, none of the active human rights organisations were invited to participate. Some organisations were reluctant to accept nomination by political parties on the basis that it would politicise their work and because they lacked confidence in the independence of the process.

In April 2009, four of the major political parties (including the ousted SDL party) were excluded from participation in third meeting of the Political Leaders Dialogue as they refused to sign a statement agreeing not speak to the media and committing to electoral reforms. This effectively stopped the PPDF from getting off the ground as the proposed facilitators, the UN and the Commonwealth Secretariat, would not continue without inclusivity.

A track II dialogue process was established (called Dialogue Fiji) parallel to the impending PPDF process, in order to ensure that civil society and the public could have a meaningful contribution. The advantage of this mechanism is that it recognises that there are things that governments can do and people cannot, and there are things that people can do that governments cannot. [33] This process aimed to address both the political and social factors that contribute to political instability and recognises the importance of public consultation and support for politically agreed outcomes to be sustainable.

Track II dialogue processes are often referred to as “citizen diplomacy”[34] and it works by bringing citizens at all levels (e.g. community, civil society and local leaders) together in an environment which is informal, low-key, non-confrontational, open and safe where they can reflect on the dynamics of their relationships with each other, break down stereotypes and explore possible solutions to the conflict. An environment free from threats or coercion and having no predetermined outcome is essential to the development of innovative ideas which may eventually resolve the conflict.

Whilst governments have the capacity to make changes at the political level, the implementation of these changes is not sustainable without public involvement and consensus. Building and repairing relationships in a fractured society takes time. For this reason, the process needs to be open-ended and inclusive for it to provide more than a band-aid solution to the problem.

Due to the time-consuming nature of this form of dialogue, it should not be used as a reason to delay or postpone decision making at the government or political level. Civil society dialogue can operate concurrent to a political dialogue process and continue after political agreements have been reached. In essence, the two processes complement each other and reinforce the same objectives.

Can Dialogue Work?

Both tiers suffered a major set back with the purported abrogation of the Constitution and the subsequent restrictions imposed. The interim government seems determined to push ahead with its own agenda regardless of whether or not they have popular or legal support. This begs the question of whether the PPDF was doomed to fail. Certainly, the exclusion of key political players indicates the unwillingness of the regime to tolerate opposition and accept inclusivity. It is also unclear whether the UN and the Commonwealth (who agreed to jointly facilitate the political dialogue to ensure its independence) would have continued to offer their support with the exclusion of these parties.

In an address to the nation[35] on 1 July 2009, Commodore Bainimarama outlined his framework for the following five years. Within the speech there was no mention of any form of political dialogue up to September 2012, after which it was suggested there will be an inclusive constitutional development process. In essence, the PPDF seems to have fallen by the wayside from the government agenda over the next few years.

Dialogue has the potential to be an important tool in addressing ethno-political conflict in Fiji, but it will only work if there is a genuine commitment from all levels of society to participate in the process.

In order for a dialogue process to have any meaningful impact, the interim government will need to participate willingly and in good faith. It is crucial that current restrictions (PER) which suppress freedom of expression, assembly and association be lifted, so that civil society can express their views in this forum without fear of reprisal.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group,[36] the Pacific Islands Forum[37] and the Commonwealth Secretariat[38] have all offered their support for a dialogue process that leads to elections. Fiji’s two major political rivals, Qarase and Chaudhry (both former Prime Ministers), who were once unable to share seats in Cabinet together, are now working together to encourage the PPDF to get back on track. In conjunction with this, the Dialogue Fiji process is continuing with some degree of government support.

A dialogue process has the ability to address some of the social factors which have led to the present political conflict provided that it is inclusive, independently facilitated and representative of diverse community interests. If changes occur without maintaining a connection to the people, it will be a top-down approach which might resolve the political and legal dimension to the conflict, but it will not address the social element. The risk with this approach is that it will be unsustainable.

Regardless of whether there is an immediate or delayed return to democratic and constitutional rule in Fiji, there is a need for ongoing measures such as dialogue to promote and facilitate harmony and cohesion amongst and within Fiji’s different ethnic groups. Eventually, these measures may lead to a more formal process for the recognition of the ethnic divisions which have plagued Fiji’s past, including the possibility of a Truth and Reconciliation Tribunal which might have more extensive powers to redress past wrongs and expose the truth behind the conflict.


Constitutionalism plays a key role in establishing the legal and political framework for government. Even a good constitution cannot ensure political stability if it is not properly understood and supported by the citizens of a country and the people in power. There is a need to reform the electoral system and other government procedures to remove the focus on ethnic identity, and also address the social factors leading to conflict though an ongoing, inclusive and independent dialogue process.

Without an ongoing commitment from all aspects of society to engage in an open, inclusive and fair dialogue process, including from the interim government and the military, the ethno-political conflict will prevail. With the right attitude, dialogue can bring people together and help reconcile Fiji with its past history of ethno-political conflict.

An advanced legal system that promotes equality will not be sustainable without addressing the social element, particularly in a country where there has been a history of disrespect for the law through several unconstitutional overthrows of government. It is the people that lend authority to government (whether elected or not). If people embrace and actively support multiculturalism, politicians and people in power will not further their agendas through racial politics. Adequate legal and social structures are essential to promote a fully integrated, nonracial Fiji which respects equality and human rights.

  1. Compact, Fiji Islands Constitution (Amendment) Act 1997. The 1997 Constitution was purportedly abrogated by the President on 10 April 2009.
  2. Parliament of Fiji, Parliamentary Paper No.32 of 1997, ‘The Fiji Constitution and the Commonwealth: Final Report’ (1997) 3[6]; Demographically, Indo Fijians accounted for 51% of the population in 1970.
  3. Y. Ghai and J. Cotrell, A Tale of Three Constitutions: Ethnicity and Politics in Fiji, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007, CON, Volume 5, Number 4, 2007, pp639-669
  4. Madraiwiwi J., Fiji 2001: Our Country at the Crossroads”, paper presented in the Ray Parkinson Memorial Lecture Series, Suva, University of the South Pacific, 2001
  5. Y. Ghai, The Constitutional Reform Process: Comparative Perspectives, “Towards Inclusive and Participatory Constitution Making”, 3-5 August 2004, Kathmandu, Nepal
  6. Terms of Reference of the Fiji Constitution Review Commission, issued by the President of the Republic of Fiji, 15 March 1995, as reproduced in P. Reeves, T. Vakatora, B. Lal, Towards a United Future: Report of the Fiji Constitution Review Commission, Government Press, Suva, 1996 (Parliamentary Paper No. 34 of 1996)
  7. Hansard Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, Suva, Fiji, 24 July 1992, pp 730-731, as cited by Jon Fraenkel, The Triumph of the Non-Idealist Intellectuals? 46 AJPH 1 (2000) at p103. This compartmentalizing of ethnic or racial categories is part of the problem. It ignores the class nature of Fiji society, including the intra ethnic inequalities.
  8. The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum supported the proposal of a multi-party cabinet in its submission to the Fiji Constitutional Review Commission. These submissions are published in: One Nation, Diverse Peoples: Building a Just and Democratic Society, A Submission by the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum to the Constitutional Review Commission, Printhouse Ltd, Suva, September 2005.
  9. President of the Republic of Fiji Islands v Kubuabola [1999] FJSC 8; Chaudhry v Qarase [2002] FJCA 2; In re the Constitution, Reference by HE the President [2002] FJFC 1
  10. Jon Fraenkel, The Triumph of the Non-Idealist Intellectuals? 46 AJPH 1 (2000); and Y. Ghai and J. Cotrell, A Tale of Three Constitutions: Ethnicity and Politics in Fiji, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007, CON, Volume 5, Number 4, 2007
  11. Y. Ghai and J. Cotrell, A Tale of Three Constitutions: Ethnicity and Politics in Fiji, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007, CON, Volume 5, Number 4, 2007, p655
  12. Y. Ghai and J. Cotrell, A Tale of Three Constitutions: Ethnicity and Politics in Fiji, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007, CON, Volume 5, Number 4, 2007, pp639-669
  13. The FLP started as a multi-ethnic party and the Chaudhry cabinet was comprised of ministers of varied ethnicity. However, it was strongly influenced by Chaudhry’s leadership style and the attempts to undermine it by its enemies and came to be perceived as an Indo-Fijian party.
  14. Citizens’ Constitutional Forum v President [2001] FJHC 28
  15. Republic of the Fiji Islands v Prasad [2001] FJCA 2
  16. G. Williams, The Case that Stopped a Coup? The Rule of Law and Constitutionalism in Fiji (2001) 1 Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal 73
  17. A number of local and international civil society organisations made submissions to Parliament on this point, including Citizens’ Constitutional Forum.
  18. The Qoliqoli Bill 2006 created exclusive indigenous fishing areas to the detriment other communities.
  19. Prime Minister Qarase and the Leader of the Opposition, Mahendra Chaudhry have repeatedly made cross allegations of engaging in hate speech in Parliament. In a program on Al Jazeera “101 East” aired on 30 July 2009, the National Director of the deposed SDL party stated that it was a God-given right for indigenous Fijians to govern their own country.
  20. Speech of Bainimarama as cited in Qarase v Bainimarama [2008] FJHC 241
  21. Per Gates CJ in Prasad v Republic of Fiji [2000] FJHC 121
  22. Qarase v Bainimarama [2008] FJHC 241
  23. Because of his appointment by the GCC, the President is always likely to remain an indigenous Fijian even though this was not a requirement for the position under the Constitution.
  24. Qarase v Bainimarama [2009] FJCA 9
  25. Speech of President Ratu Iloilo, President’s Address to the Nation, 10 April 2009 accessed at: on 3 September 2009.
  26. Speech of President Ratu Iloilo, President’s Address to the Nation, 10 April 2009 accessed at: on 3 September 2009.
  27. Nicola McGarrity, Calling a Coup a Coup: Judicial Authority versus Political Reality in the Fiji Islands (2009) 20 PLR 178 at 182
  28. Submissions by the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum as Second Amicus Curiae in appeals case of Qarase v Bainimarama [2008] FJHC 241
  29. Paper by Satendra Prasad, Jone Dakuvula and Darryn Snell, Economic Development, Democracy and Ethnic Conflict in the Fiji Islands, 2001, CCF and Minority Rights Group International.
  30. Public Emergency Regulations 2009 (first Gazetted on 10 April 2009, and renewed every 30 days).
  31. Police officers are required to participate in religious activities of the New Methodist Church (founded by the Police Commissioner’s brother).
  32. The Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations agreed to facilitate this process.
  33. H. Saunders, A Public Peace Process: Sustained Dialogue to Transform Racial and Ethnic Conflicts, 1999, St Martins Press, described at
  34. Chigas, Track II (Citizen) Diplomacy, Beyond Intractability, August 2003, accessed at: on 3 September 2009
  35. Speech delivered by Commodore Bainimarama, A Strategic Framework for Change, 1 July 2009, accessed at: on 3 September 2009
  36. Special Melanasia Spearhad Group (MSG) Leader’s Retreat, Port Vila, Vanuatu, 10 July 2009, Joint Communiqué
  37. 40th Pacific Islands Forum, Cairns, Australia, 5-6 August 2009, Forum Communiqué
  38. Extraordinary meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), London, 31 July 2009, Concluding Statement

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