From Election to Coup in Fiji

From Election to Coup in Fiji

The 2006 campaign and its aftermath

Edited by: Jon Fraenkel, Stewart Firth orcid

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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.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Jun 2007
ANU Press
Asia Pacific Press
Arts & Humanities: Cultural Studies; Social Sciences: Politics & International Studies, Social Policy & Administration
Pacific: Fiji

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From Election to Coup in Fiji »

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  1. Changing calculus and shifting visions (PDF, 126KB)Stewart Firth and Jon Fraenkel doi

The campaign

  1. Chance hai: from the campaign trail (PDF, 147KB)Brij V. Lal doi
  2. The pre-election ‘cold war’: the role of the Fiji military during the 2006 election (PDF, 155KB)Steven Ratuva doi
  3. Songs in sheds: some thoughts on the sociology of Fiji elections (PDF, 110KB)Paul Geraghty doi
  4. Election observation missions to the 2006 Fiji election (PDF, 131KB)Graham Hassall and Jeannette Bolenga doi

The major parties

  1. The cycles of party politics (PDF, 142KB)Jon Fraenkel and Stewart Firth doi
  2. Defending the inheritance: The SDL and the 2006 election (PDF, 124KB)Alumita Durutalo doi
  3. The strategic impasse: Mahendra Chaudhry and the Fiji Labour Party (PDF, 142KB)Samisoni Pareti and Jon Fraenkel doi
  4. The failure of the moderates (PDF, 83KB)The Yellow Bucket Team doi


  1. The impact of the Promotion of Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill on the 2006 election (PDF, 234KB)Mosmi Bhim doi
  2. Reflections on the economic and social policies of political parties at the 2006 election (PDF, 175KB)Biman Chand Prasad doi
  3. Broken promises: women and the 2006 Fiji election (PDF, 136KB)Rae Nicholl doi
  4. The media and the spectre of the 2000 coup (PDF, 136KB)Michael Field doi

Case studies

  1. From marginalization to mainstream? Rotuma and the 2006 election (PDF, 237KB)Kylie Jayne Anderson doi
  2. Tailevu North: five years down the line (PDF, 531KB)Anare Tuitoga doi
  3. Bose ni Vanua and democratic politics in Rewa (PDF, 322KB)Baro Saumaki doi
  4. Whatever happened to Western separatism? (PDF, 484KB)Apolosi Bose and Jon Fraenkel doi
  5. The ‘Generals’ – where to now? (PDF, 109KB)The Yellow Bucket Team doi


  1. Elections and nation-building: the long road since 1970 (PDF, 125KB)Robbie Robertson doi
  2. Indigenous title disputes: what they meant for the 2006 election (PDF, 124KB)Morgan Tuimaleali’ifano doi
  3. Bipolar realignment under the alternative vote system: an analysis of the 2006 electoral data (PDF, 187KB)Jon Fraenkel doi
  4. Fiji’s electoral boundaries and malapportionment (PDF, 121KB)Kesaia Seniloli doi
  5. The role of the Assembly of Christian Churches in Fiji in the 2006 election (PDF, 155KB)Lynda Newland doi
  6. The role of Hindu and Muslim organizations during the 2006 election (PDF, 171KB)Jonathon Prasad doi


  1. Fiji’s system of elections and government: where to from here? (PDF, 129KB)The Honourable Laisenia Qarase doi
  2. Tainted elections (PDF, 152KB)Mahendra Chaudhry doi
  3. A view from the Electoral Commission (PDF, 56KB)Graham Leung doi
  4. Multiparty cabinet and power-sharing: lessons from elsewhere (PDF, 148KB)Jon Fraenkel doi
  5. Women and minority interests in Fiji’s alternative vote electoral system (PDF, 111KB)Suliana Siwatibau doi
  6. The case for reform of the electoral system in Fiji (PDF, 129KB)Rev. David G. Arms doi
  7. An election retrospective (PDF, 60KB)Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi doi

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