Laisenia Qarase

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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. [7]

From Vanuabalavu, he remained outspoken in condemning the military takeover, comparing the new regime to those of Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, and Idi Amin, [8] 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. [9]

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. [10] Bainimarama said that Qarase and his spokesman should return to Vanuabalavu and that they could "talk from there." [11]

Qarase initiated a court challenge to the coup on 4 October 2007. [12] Martial law was lifted on 6 October [13] on the grounds that there was no threat. [14]

Elections were tentatively set in 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. [15]


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  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. "John Abrahams". Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  5. "Former PM Qarase's final wish". FijiTimes. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  6. "Qarase is Tui Kobuco in Mavana Village". Fijian Culture and Custom. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  7. "Clark concerned about Qarase's plans". Fijilive. 12 December 2006. Archived from the original on 3 January 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
  8. "Fiji is slipping into dictatorship: Qarase". Fiji Times Online. 14 December 2006. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012.
  9. "Qarase May Consider Return to Power if Elections Held Early". 2 February 2007. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007.
  10. "Emergency rule declared in Fiji". BBC News. 7 September 2007. Archived from the original on 8 October 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  11. "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.
  12. "Ousted Fiji prime minister begins court challenge to legality of 2006 military coup", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 4 October 2007.
  13. "Martial law lifted in Fiji". Television New Zealand . 6 October 2007. Archived from the original on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  14. "Fiji's military government to lift state of emergency after no 'threat to nation' found", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 5 October 2007.
  15. "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.
Laisenia Qarase
Fiji 2004 Mr Qarase (cropped).jpg
Qarase in 2004
Prime Minister of Fiji
In office
16 March 2001 5 December 2006
Political offices
Vacant Prime Minister of Fiji
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Ratu Tevita Momoedonu
Prime Minister of Fiji
Succeeded by