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Fiji votes for change in government after 16 years

December 20, 2022

The opposition in Fiji reached a deal to form a new coalition government after the election showed a draw between incumbent Prime Minister Frank Veroqe Bainimarama and Sitiveni Rabuka.

People's Alliance Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka gestures during a press conference
Image: Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP/picture alliance

Fiji is set to have a new leader after the opposition reached a deal to form a new coalition government on Tuesday.

The Pacific island nation's incumbent Prime Minister Frank Veroqe Bainimarama, leader of the Fiji First party, has been in power for 16 years.

Sunday's elections showed a tie between Bainimarama and Sitiveni Rabuka of the People's Alliance Party and the National Federation Party, both finishing with 26 seats each.

Who will form the next govt

A party needs 28 or more seats to form the government. The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), led by Viliame Gavoka, won three seats, and chose to team up with Rabuka's coalition. Sixteen members supported the coalition and 14 voted for Bainimarama in a secret ballot.

"It has not been a very easy decision. It took us two days to decide on a way forward," Anare Jale, the chair of SODELPA's negotiations committee said.

In 2006, Bainimarama had seized power through a military coup. During the general election in 2014, he won by a landslide. 

Rabuka who is likely to be Fiji's new prime minister, was an army colonel. He instigated two military coups against the elected government in 1987. He served as the elected prime minister from 1992 to 1999.

tg/sms (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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