Commander Frank Bainimarama toppled elected Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase in a bloodless coup on Dec. 5, claiming Qarase's largely indigenous government was corrupt and too soft on those responsible for the previous coup in 2000. Image Credit: fijivillage
The Real World Survivor Fiji – No Civilian Rule
Back in early December 2006, the military commander of Fiji (Commodore Frank Bainimarama) decided that the legally elected Government of Fiji wasn’t handling affaires to his liking – so, he ordered the military to take over the Government and oust the Prime Minister.
Since this event, Fiji’s economy has plummeted, the country has been suspended from its participation in networking trade organizations, and the coup has been roundly rejected by the United Nations and Fiji’s neighbors.
The latest development of this coup saga has the now Interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, stating that he would retain both the Interim PM and Commander's positions to ensure that the interim government's mandate is properly implemented - Government and Military as one.
Further, “He” had laid out a "road map" to democracy which included plans for a constitutional review, a census of Fiji's 900,000 people and an examination of electoral boundaries in the next two years.
"Under this roadmap, Fiji will be ready for a general election and a full restoration of parliamentary democracy in 2010," Interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama said in a statement.
Excerpts from a posting at fijivillage -
Commander Has No Faith in Civilian Rule, Will Remain Interim PM
By fijivillage - Feb 21, 2007, 12:53
According to the Pacific Islands Forum Eminent Persons Group report obtained by Village News, Commodore Bainimarama has said the RFMF holds the view that it does not have confidence in any civilian authority to conduct the exercise unsupervised.
While the EPG has said that the December 5th takeover was unlawful and the Commander should vacate the position of Interim PM, it also said that it recognizes that the legality of the events must ultimately be determined by the court of law and the EPG does not presume to preempt such decisions.
The report also states that the EPG heard conflicting opinions on the level of support for the interim government and the ousted government. It said that the support for the ousted government amongst the Indigenous Fijians reportedly remains strong while the interim government seems to have gained support among other communities.
The EPG report also said with the national census, review of the constituency boundaries, voter education and registration and the implementation of an electronic voting system, the interim government believes that the next elections could be held within three to five years.
The EPG said it recognizes that political issues in Fiji are complex and have a long history but it has restricted its report to the key events immediately leading up, or directly relevant to the events of 5th December 2006 and since.
In its recommendation, the Eminent Persons Group clearly states that the next democratically elected government of Fiji should be encouraged to examine the roots of Fiji's coup culture and the steps that need to be taken to eradicate it.