Jon Fraenkel

Jon Fraenkel is a Senior Research Fellow in the State, Society & Governance in Melanesia Program, in the College of Asia and the Pacific at The Australian National University. He formerly worked at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji from 1995-2007. He is author of The Manipulation of Custom; from uprising to intervention in the Solomon Islands (Victoria University Press & Pandanus Books, 2004) and recently co-edited The 2006 Military Takeover in Fiji; A coup to end all coups?, ANU Press, 2009. His current research work focuses contemporary Pacific politics, economic history of Oceania, electoral systems in Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Nauru and women’s representation in the Pacific Islands. He is The Economist’s Pacific Island correspondent and regularly covers contemporary Pacific issues for other international media outlets.

The 2006 Military Takeover in Fiji »

A Coup to End All Coups?

This book explores the factors behind – and the implications of – the 2006 coup. It brings together contributions from leading scholars, local personalities, civil society activists, union leaders, journalists, lawyers, soldiers and politicians – including deposed Prime Ministers Laisenia Qarase and Mahendra Chaudhry. The 2006 Military Takeover in Fiji: A Coup to End All Coups? is essential reading for those with an interest in the contemporary history of Fiji, politics in deeply divided societies, or in military intervention in civilian politics.

From Election to Coup in Fiji »

The 2006 campaign and its aftermath

In May 2006 Fiji held its tenth general election since independence in 1970. In a country with an unenviable history of electoral trauma, the mood was apprehensive if not tense – not least because of controversial public statements against the incumbent Qarase government being made by the commander of Fiji’s military forces. Despite a record number of parties and candidates, the winners were the two big parties – the heavily church-backed SDL, the party of choice of the majority of indigenous Fijians; and the Fiji Labour Party, the party preferred by most Indo-Fijians. Although the result was ethnically polarised, for the first time in Fijian history the successful candidates came together to share power in a constitutionally ordained multiparty cabinet, with Laisenia Qarase retaining the prime ministership. But the fragile collaboration was short-lived. On 5 December 2006, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama ordered a military takeover, declaring himself ‘President’, ousting the elected government and replacing it with an ‘interim’ government of his choice, and once again throwing Fiji into political turmoil. With contributions from ex-Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, ousted Prime Minister Laesenia Qarase, leader of the Fiji Labour Party and now interim Minister for Finance Mahendra Chaudhry, and an impressive array of leading commentators on Fijian affairs, this book provides a comprehensive and penetrating analysis of the lead-up to, the outcome and the aftermath of Fiji’s historic 2006 election. Shedding light on the complex weave of traditional chiefly systems, race relations, economics, constitutionality, the military ethos and religion, From Election to Coup in Fiji is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Fiji, the South Pacific and the politics of divided societies.