President of Fiji

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President of the
Republic of Fiji
Flag of the President of Fiji.svg
Presidential Standard
Jioji Konrote 2017.jpg
Incumbent
Jioji Konrote

since 12 November 2015
Residence Government House, Suva
Appointer Parliament of Fiji
Term length 3 years
renewable once [1]
Inaugural holder Penaia Ganilau
Formation5 December 1987
SalaryFJ$ 130,000 annually [2]
Coat of arms of Fiji.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Fiji

The president of the Republic of Fiji is the head of state of Fiji. The President is appointed by the Parliament of Fiji for a three-year term under the terms of the 2013 Constitution of Fiji. [1] Although not entirely a figurehead, the president's role in government is mostly ceremonial, but there are important reserve powers that may be exercised in the event of a crisis. In addition, the president is commander-in-chief of the military forces.

Contents

History of the office

The office of the president was established following two military coups in 1987 that led to the proclamation of a republic on 7 October, ending the Fijian monarchy. Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka, who had masterminded the coups, formed an interim military government with himself as its head. He did not, however, take the title of President, and on 5 December appointed Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, the last governor-general, as the first president of the republic.

A civilian putsch instigated by George Speight led to another constitutional upheaval in 2000. President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara resigned on 29 May rather than abrogate the Constitution, as the military, supported by the Supreme Court, had asked. (Whether or not his resignation was forced was the subject of a police investigation that continued up to the time of the 2006 coup). Commodore Frank Bainimarama took power as the head of the interim military government (as had Rabuka in 1987), until Ratu Josefa Iloilo was appointed President on 13 July.

On 5 December 2006, the military forces again overthrew the government. Bainimarama declared himself acting president; he initially said that he had assumed the office in an interim capacity, and would soon ask the Great Council of Chiefs to reinstate Iloilo, but on 17 December he insisted that he was now the president and that the Great Council should recognise him as such. [3] Iloilo was re-instated as President on 4 January 2007.

In January 2008, Bainimarama stated that the military was "the executive authority in the appointment of the President", following the suspension of the Great Council of Chiefs. The president would be a military appointee, until a reformed GCC were installed. [4]

A few days later, Citizens Constitutional Forum director Reverend Akuila Yabaki suggested that the position of President should, in future, be open to persons of any ethnicity, rather than reserved for indigenous Fijians. This suggestion was controversial, and was notably opposed by deposed prime minister Laisenia Qarase. A Rewa chief, Ro Filipe Tuisawau, also opposed the idea, and stated his view on the function of the presidency:

"The position of the president symbolises unity of both traditional structures of leadership which existed before parliamentary rule was established and the current Westminster system of parliament. This is where the Western system meets our traditional vanua system and we acknowledge the indigenous leadership that has evolved and catered for all races in our multicultural society. By nominating the President the nation is acknowledging the role our chiefs have played in society and I think the Fijian people would appreciate that the status quo stay." [5]

On 28 July 2009, Iloilo announced that he would be leaving office on 30 July. [6] Brigadier-General (Rtd) Ratu Epeli Nailatikau succeeded him as acting president. On 5 November 2009, Nailatikau was sworn in as President. [7]

In March 2012, the Bainimarama government disestablished the Great Council of Chiefs by decree. [8] [9] Bainimarama confirmed this meant there would need to be a new method to appoint the president; this, he said, would be provided by a new Constitution, to be adopted in 2013 following consultations with the people. [10]

On 12 October 2015, the Parliament elected Major-General (Rtd) Jioji Konrote as President. [11] On 12 November 2015, Konrote was sworn in as President. [12]

List of presidents of Fiji (1987–present)

No.PresidentTook officeLeft officeTime in officePartyElection Prime Minister
Head of the Interim Military Government
Sitiveni Rabuka July 2016.jpg
Rabuka, Sitiveni Major general
Sitiveni Rabuka
(born 1948)
Acting
7 October 19875 December 198759 days RFMF
Presidents of the Republic of Fiji
1
No image.png
Ganilau, Penaia Ratu Sir
Penaia Ganilau
(1918–1993)
5 December 198715 December 1993 6 years, 10 days Independent 1987 Kamisese Mara
Sitiveni Rabuka
Kamisese Mara.jpg
Mara, KamiseseRatu Sir
Kamisese Mara
(1920–2004)
Acting
16 December 199318 January 199433 days Independent Sitiveni Rabuka
2
Kamisese Mara.jpg
Mara, KamiseseRatu Sir
Kamisese Mara
(1920–2004)
18 January 199429 May 20006 years, 132 days Independent 1994 Sitiveni Rabuka
Mahendra Chaudhry
Tevita Momoedonu
Head of the Interim Military Government
Frank Bainimarama November 2014.jpg
Bainimarama, Frank Commodore
Frank Bainimarama
(born 1954)
Acting
29 May 200013 July 200045 days RFMF Laisenia Qarase
President of the Republic of Fiji
3
Josefa Iloilo.jpg
Iloilo, JosefaRatu
Josefa Iloilo
(1920–2011)
13 July 20005 December 20066 years, 145 days Independent 2000
2006
Laisenia Qarase
Tevita Momoedonu
Laisenia Qarase
Head of the Interim Military Government
Frank Bainimarama November 2014.jpg
Bainimarama, FrankCommodore
Frank Bainimarama
(born 1954)
Acting
5 December 20064 January 200730 days RFMF Jona Senilagakali
Presidents of the Republic of Fiji
(3)
Josefa Iloilo.jpg
Iloilo, JosefaRatu
Josefa Iloilo
(1920–2011)
4 January 200730 July 20092 years, 207 days Independent Frank Bainimarama
Epeli Nailatikau 2012.jpg
Nailatikau, EpeliRatu Brigadier general (Rtd)
Epeli Nailatikau
(born 1941)
Acting
30 July 20095 November 200998 days Independent Frank Bainimarama
4
Epeli Nailatikau 2012.jpg
Nailatikau, EpeliRatu Brigadier general (Rtd)
Epeli Nailatikau
(born 1941)
5 November 200912 November 20156 years, 7 days Independent 2009 Frank Bainimarama
5
Jioje Konrote January 2015.jpg
Konrote, JiojiMajor general (Rtd)
Jioji Konrote
(born 1947)
12 November 2015Incumbent4 years, 101 days FijiFirst 2015 Frank Bainimarama

See also

Notes

    Related Research Articles

    Politics of Fiji

    Politics of Fiji take place within the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic. Fiji has a multiparty system with the Prime Minister of Fiji as head of government. The executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Fiji. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

    Epeli Nailatikau President of Fiji

    Brigadier-General Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, CF, LVO, OBE, MSD, KStJ, is a Fijian chief who was President of Fiji from 2009 to 2015. He has had a long career in the Military, diplomatic service, and government. From 2001 to 2006 he served as Speaker of the House of Representatives – the lower and more powerful chamber of the Fijian Parliament. He was also the Chairman of the Parliamentary Appropriations Committee and of the House Committee. On 8 January 2007, he was appointed the interim Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade; he was moved to the post of interim Minister for Provincial Development and Multi-Ethnic Affairs in September 2008. In October 2008, he became Indigenous Affairs Minister "and effectively Great Council of Chiefs chairman". On 17 April 2009, he was appointed Vice-President by the Military government.

    Prime Minister of Fiji position

    The Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji is the head of government of Fiji. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President under the terms of the 2013 Constitution of Fiji.

    Great Council of Chiefs

    The Great Council of Chiefs(Bose Levu Vakaturaga in Fijian, ग्रेट काउंसिल ऑफ चीफ्स in Fiji Hindi) was a constitutional body in the Republic of the Fiji Islands from 1876 to March 2012. In April 2007 the council was suspended, due to an unworkable relationship with Frank Bainimarama, leader of an "interim government" which came to power through military coup in December 2006. It was formally disestablished by decree in March 2012.

    The 1997 Constitution of Fiji was the supreme law of Fiji from its adoption in 1997 until 2009 when President Josefa Iloilo purported to abrogate it. It was also suspended for a period following the 2000 coup d'état led by George Speight.

    Chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs

    The Great Council of Chiefs(Bose Levu Vakaturaga in Fijian) was a formal assembly of Fiji's senior hereditary chiefs, along with some representatives of the national government and provincial councils, who may or may not be hereditary chiefs themselves. It also had a constitutional role in functioning as an electoral college to choose the President of the Republic, as well as 14 of the 32 Senators.

    Sitiveni Rabuka Prime Minister of Fiji

    Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka, OBE, MSD, OStJ, is best known as the instigator of two military coups that shook Fiji 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. On 24 June 2016, Rabuka was elected as leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party, succeeding Leader of the Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa, who publicly disapproved of Rabuka's nomination to replace her. On 26 November 2018, Rabuka was appointed as the leader of the Opposition to Parliament, following the 2018 election defeat. Rabuka was the only nomination for the position and his nomination was moved by Ro Teimumu Kepa and seconded by Biman Prasad.

    Frank Bainimarama 21st-century Prime Minister of Fiji

    Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama CF, MSD, OStJ, known commonly as Frank Bainimarama and sometimes by the chiefly title Ratu, is a Fijian naval officer and politician who has been Prime Minister of Fiji since 2007. He was the Commander of the Fijian Military Forces from 1999 to 2014. While holding the office of Prime Minister, he has temporarily held various ministerial portfolios: Information, Home Affairs, Immigration, Public Service, Indigenous and Multi-Ethnic Affairs, Finance, and Foreign Affairs.

    2000 Fijian coup détat coup in Fiji

    The Fiji coup of 2000 was a complicated affair involving a civilian coup d'état by hardline i-Taukei nationalists against the elected government of a Fijian of Indian Descent Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, on 19 May 2000, the 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.

    Jioji Konrote President of Fiji (2015–present)

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    Removal of Ratu Mara, 2000

    On May 21, 2003, the Police Investigations Department confirmed that they had opened an investigation into the resignation of the Fiji's former President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara. Mara resigned under duress on May 29, 2000, and handed power over to Commodore Frank Bainimarama. In what politicians have called a "coup within a coup," Ratu Mara was whisked away on a warship on May 28, where he was allegedly approached by a group of present and former military and police officers who ordered him to suspend the Constitution. When he refused, the group, including Bainimarama, former Prime Minister and 1987 Coup Leader Sitiveni Rabuka, former military commander Ratu Epeli Ganilau, and former Police Commissioner Isikia Savua, are said to have forced Mara's resignation. He was subsequently taken to his home island in the Lau Islands.

    2006 Fijian coup détat coup détat in Fiji

    The Fijian coup d'état of December 2006 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.

    The National Council for Building a Better Fiji (NCBBF) was an organisation established in 2007 by the government of Fiji. Its task was to prepare the People's Charter for Change, Peace and Progress proposed by interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, who came to power in a military coup in December 2006.

    The Fijian constitutional crisis of 2009 began on Friday, 10 April 2009. Fijian President Ratu Josefa Iloilo announced on a nationwide radio broadcast that he was abrogating the Constitution of Fiji. He dismissed all judges and constitutional appointees and assumed all governance in the country after the Court of Appeal ruled that the government of Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama was illegal. Iloilo reinstalled Bainimarama as PM and his Cabinet members to their positions. He also instituted emergency rule which increased police powers and allowed media censorship.

    Josefa Iloilo 21st-century President of Fiji

    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.

    The interim cabinet of Fiji was appointed in January 2007, following the 2006 Fijian coup d'état.

    References

    1. 1 2 "Constitution of the Republic of Fiji" (PDF). 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015.
    2. Government of Fiji Gazette (3 October 2014). "PARLIAMENTARY REMUNERATIONS DECREE 2014 (DECREE NO. 29 OF 2014)" (PDF). www.parliament.gov.fj.
    3. http://www.fijilive.com/news/show/news/2006/12/18/Fijilive13.html
    4. "Voreqe: Army is executive authority", Fiji Times, 2 January 2008
    5. "Keep President Fijian", Robert Matau, Fiji Times , 7 January 2008
    6. President of military-led Fiji plans to step down, AP, 28 July 2009
    7. Nailatikau sworn in as Fiji's new President. News.xinhuanet.com (5 November 2009). Retrieved on 4 May 2012.
    8. "Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs abolished". Stuff. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
    9. "REMARKS BY THE PRIME MINISTER ON THE GREAT COUNCIL OF CHIEFS (GCC)" Archived 19 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine , government of Fiji
    10. "Fiji to have a new system to elect president", FijiVillage, 14 March 2012
    11. "Fiji Parliament elects new President". Radio New Zealand International. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
    12. "Fiji swears in new president". Radio New Zealand International. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015.