Laisenia Qarase

Last updated


Laisenia Qarase
Fiji 2004 Mr Qarase (cropped).jpg
Qarase in 2004
Prime Minister of Fiji
In office
16 March 2001 5 December 2006
President Josefa Iloilo
Preceded by Tevita Momoedonu
Succeeded by Jona Senilagakali
In office
4 July 2000 14 March 2001
President Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda
Preceded byVacant
Succeeded by Tevita Momoedonu
Personal details
Born(1941-02-04)4 February 1941
Vanua Balavu, Colony of Fiji
Died21 April 2020(2020-04-21) (aged 79)
Suva, Fiji
Political party Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua
Spouse(s) Leba Qarase (?–2020; his death)
Children5

Laisenia Qarase (pronounced [ŋɡaˈrase] ; 4 February 1941 – 21 April 2020) [1] was a Fijian politician. He served as the sixth Prime Minister of Fiji from 2000 to 2006. After the military quashed the coup that led to the removal of Mahendra Chaudhry, Qarase joined the Interim Military Government as a financial adviser on 9 June 2000, until his appointment as Prime Minister on 4 July. He won two parliamentary elections, but a military coup removed him from power on 5 December 2006. He was later imprisoned on corruption charges brought by the military-backed regime.

Contents

A native of Vanua Balavu Island in the Lau archipelago, he was one of many Lauans to have held top leadership positions in Fiji.

Early and personal life

Qarase was born in 1941 into the Tota clan in Mavana on Vanua Balavu, the son of Josateki Mate of Mavana village. After attending local schools, he enrolled at Suva Boys Grammar School. Following his education at Suva Boys Grammar School, Qarase left Fiji in 1959 and went on to graduate from New Zealand's University of Auckland with a degree in Commerce. He got his first job at the Fijian Affairs Board and served as a career civil servant at the ministries of Finance, Commerce and Industry and Public Service. He entered the banking profession and became the first ethnic Fijian managing director of the publicly owned Fiji Development Bank (FDB) in 1983, a position he held for fifteen years. After the 1987 coup, he was called in by the new government to help to rebuild the damaged economy. He introduced the nine-point plan which oversaw extended government assistance to Fijians and the creation of Fijian Holdings. However, the plan mostly resulted in bankruptcies and he was embroiled in a scandal in Fijian Holdings over the acquisition of shares by his family. In 1994, he became the chairman of Fiji Television and clashed with the government for not consulting him over its plans to introduce US investment into the company. [2]

Qarase had Indigenous Fijian, Tongan, and Jewish ancestry. [3] He was married to Leba Qarase, with whom he had five children. Qarase was a chief in his native village of Mavana, on the island of Vanua Balavu, where he held the traditional chiefly title of Tui Kobuco. [4]

2006 coup and aftermath

On the occasion of his 65th birthday on 4 February 2006, Qarase stated that if re-elected in the election that was duly held on 6–13 May, it would very likely be his last term in office. He won re-election, but continuing disagreements between his government and the powerful Republic of Fiji Military Forces culminated in a military coup on 5 December. Fiji Village reported the next day that he had been flown to his home island of Vanuabalavu by the military, while Radio New Zealand claimed that he had fled there. He told Radio New Zealand that he was "down but not out"; he intended to fight on, and called for a peaceful popular uprising. On the same day it was reported that he had asked for military assistance from Australia. The BBC reported that after being warned by Commodore Bainimarama not to "incite violence", Prime Minister Qarase planned to return to Suva, from which he was banished, but was warned that he faced arrest if he returned. [5]

From Vanuabalavu, he remained outspoken in condemning the military takeover, comparing the new regime to those of Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, and Idi Amin, [6] in an interview quoted in the Fiji Times and Fiji Village on 13 and 14 December 2006.

On 2 February, Fiji Village quoted Qarase as having told Radio Australia that he was considering contesting the election to restore democracy, expected to be held within the next five years. Qarase called for the date to be brought forward. [7]

On 6 September 2007, Bainimarama imposed a renewed state of emergency for one month, alleging that Qarase and his spokesman, Peceli Kinivuwai, were spreading lies and attempting to cause destabilization, following Qarase's return to Suva after having been confined to Vanuabalavu since his ousting. [8] Bainimarama said that Qarase and his spokesman should return to Vanuabalavu and that they could "talk from there." [9]

Qarase initiated a court challenge to the coup on 4 October 2007. [10] Martial law was lifted on 6 October [11] on the grounds that there was no threat. [12]

Elections were tentatively set on February 2009 but did not occur until September 2014. Qarase was one of several politicians banned from running for office and his political party was forced to disband. It reorganized, but was forced to take a name in English, not Fijian (Social Democratic Liberal Party). It was later forced to change its initials to not match Qarase's former party, although its policy positions remained similar.

Financing allegations

In January 2010, it was reported that Qarase would stand trial on charges, brought by the Military-backed interim government, of abusing his office. Qarase was found guilty of abusing his office and failing to perform his duty, and sentenced on 3 August 2012 to one year in prison. His supporters say the charges were politically motivated. [13]

Sources

Related Research Articles

George Speight (['speːt]), occasionally known as Ilikini Naitini, is a Fijian businessman. He was the leader of the Fiji coup of 2000, in which he and an elite unit of Fiji's military detained thirty-six members of parliament and held them hostage from May 19, 2000 to July 13, 2000. He is serving life imprisonment for his role in the coup. He was detained in Nukulau island before being sentenced.

Sitiveni Rabuka Prime Minister of Fiji from 1992 to 1999

Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka, OBE, MSD, OStJ, is a Fijian politician best known as the instigator of two military coups in 1987. He was later democratically elected as Prime Minister of Fiji, serving from 1992 to 1999. He went on to serve as Chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, and later served as Chairman of the Cakaudrove Provincial Council from 2001 to 2008. He was elected to this position on 24 May 2001 and re-elected for another three-year term on 13 April 2005.

Frank Bainimarama Prime Minister of Fiji since 2007

Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, commonly known as Frank Bainimarama, is the 8th and current prime minister of Fiji since 2007. A member of the Fiji First Party, he began his career as a naval officer and commander of the Fijian Military Forces.

Fijians are a nation and ethnic group native to Fiji, who speak Fijian and share a common history and culture.

2000 Fijian coup détat Coup that overthrew Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry

The Fiji coup d'état of 2000 was a complicated affair involving a civilian coup d'état by hardline i-Taukei nationalists against the elected government of an Indo-Fijian Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, on 19 May 2000, an attempt by President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara to assert executive authority on 27 May, and his own resignation, possibly forced, on 29 May. An interim government headed by Commodore Frank Bainimarama was set up and handed power over to an interim administration headed by Ratu Josefa Iloilo, as President, on 13 July.

Since attaining independence from the United Kingdom on 10 October 1970, Fijian history has been marked by exponential economic growth up to 1987, followed by relative stagnation, caused to a large extent by political instability following two military coups in 1987 and a civilian putsch in 2000. This was followed by another military coup in 2006. Rivalry between indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians, rather than ideological differences, have been the most visible cleavage of Fijian politics. Later in 2020, Fiji was hit by a coronavirus pandemic originated from Wuhan, China affecting the economy and the daily lives of the people.

Petero Mataca born at Cawaci, on Ovalau Island, served as the Roman Catholic archbishop of Suva, Fiji until his resignation in 2012.

The Fiji's Daily Post (FDP) was a newspaper in Fiji that was founded in October 1987 by Wame Waqanisanini, Jr, who owned 50 percent of the shares. Taniela Bolea was the original publisher. The majority shares were later owned by the Fijian government. The newspaper suspended publication and has remain closed since 2010.

Vanua Balavu

Vanua Balavu is the third largest island in Fiji's Lau archipelago, and the main island of the Northern Lau Group.

Adi Finau Tamari Tabakaucoro is a former Fijian politician, who served as Assistant Minister for Women, Culture, and Social Welfare in the interim Cabinet formed by Laisenia Qarase in the wake of the Fiji coup of 2000. She held office till an elected government took power in September 2001. She stood as an independent candidate in the Tailevu South Lomaiviti Open Constituency in the 2001 election, but was not successful.

Reaction to the 2005–2006 Fijian political crisis

The crisis that saw a virtual breakdown in relations between Fiji's government and military forces in late 2005 and early 2006, generated fears of civil unrest and even a military coup. The dismissing of Lieutenant Colonel Jone Baledrokadroka, the Acting Land Force Commander, for alleged insubordination on 12 January 2006 was coupled with unusual deployments of troops and naval vessels. Both before and after it was resolved on 16 January with a truce brokered by Acting President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, the crisis generated a great deal of comment.

2006 Fijian coup détat Coup that temporarily overthrew President Josefa Iloilo

The Fijian coup d'état of December 2006 was a coup d'état carried out by Commodore Frank Bainimarama, Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, against the government of President Josefa Iloilo. Iloilo was removed as president, but he was later reinstated by Bainimarama on 4 January 2007. The coup occurred as a continuation of the pressure which had been building since the military unrest of the 2000 Fijian coup d'état and 2005–06 Fijian political crisis.

Jona Baravilala Senilagakali was a Fijian medical doctor and diplomat who briefly served as Prime Minister of Fiji from December 2006 to January 2007. Subsequently, he was Minister for Health from 2007 to 2008.

2014 Fijian general election General elections in Fiji held on 17 September 2014

General elections were held in Fiji on 17 September 2014, to select the 50 members of the Fijian parliament.

Devanesh Sharma is a Fijian lawyer of Indian descent. He was the president of the Fiji Law Society for one year. In his capacity as president of the law society, he made many comments on the proceedings of the interim Government, led by Frank Bainimarama, and how the society did not agree with what the interim regime was doing.

Fiji–United States relations Bilateral relations

Fiji–United States relations are the bilateral relations between the Republic of Fiji and the United States of America. The relationship has improved significantly since Fiji's elections in September 2014, which restored a democratically elected government to Fiji for the first time since 2006. The United States had opposed Fiji's unelected government, which came to power through a military coup in December 2006.

Josefa Iloilo President of Fiji from 2000 to 2009

Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda, CF, MBE, MSD, KStJ was the 3rd President of Fiji from 2000 until 2009, excluding a brief period from 5 December 2006 until 4 January 2007. He held the traditional title of Tui Vuda, the paramount chief of the Vuda district in Ba Province on Fiji's northwest coast. Like many Fijian people, he rarely used his surname and was known simply as Josefa Iloilo. He announced on 28 July 2009 that he would be leaving office on 30 July. At the age of 88, he was the world's oldest head of state.

Australia–Fiji relations Bilateral diplomatic relations

Bilateral relations exist between Australia and Fiji. Both countries have a High Commission in the other.

Events of 2020 in Fiji.

References

  1. "Laisenia Qarase, former Fiji PM bookended by coups, dies at 79". RNZ. 21 April 2020. Archived from the original on 22 April 2020. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  2. Profiles of People in Power: The World's Government Leaders. Routledge. 3 June 2014. p. 172. ISBN   9781317639404. Archived from the original on 21 February 2021. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  3. Vuataki, K. (22 April 2013). Chapter 32. Softly Fiji. p. 272. ISBN   9781449789961. Archived from the original on 21 February 2021. Retrieved 4 August 2015. He was from Vanua Balavu in northern Lau and had native Fijian, Tongan, and Jewish ancestry.
  4. "Qarase is Tui Kobuco in Mavana Village". Fijian Culture and Custom. fijidailypost.com. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  5. "Clark concerned about Qarase's plans". Fijilive. 12 December 2006. Archived from the original on 3 January 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
  6. "Fiji is slipping into dictatorship: Qarase". Fiji Times Online. 14 December 2006. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012.
  7. "Qarase May Consider Return to Power if Elections Held Early". fijivillage.com. 2 February 2007. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007.
  8. "Emergency rule declared in Fiji". BBC News. 7 September 2007. Archived from the original on 8 October 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  9. "Martial law declared in Fiji – again". The New Zealand Herald . NZPA / AAP. 6 September 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  10. "Ousted Fiji prime minister begins court challenge to legality of 2006 military coup", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 4 October 2007.
  11. "Martial law lifted in Fiji". Television New Zealand . 6 October 2007. Archived from the original on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  12. "Fiji's military government to lift state of emergency after no 'threat to nation' found", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 5 October 2007.
  13. "Fiji's former prime minister Laisenia Qarase jailed over corruption". The Guardian . London: GMG. 3 August 2012. ISSN   0261-3077. OCLC   60623878. Archived from the original on 6 January 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
Political offices
Preceded by
none (office vacant)
Ratu Tevita Momoedonu
Prime Minister of Fiji
2000 – 2001
2001 – 2006
Succeeded by
Ratu Tevita Momoedonu
Jona Senilagakali