Prime Minister of Fiji

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Prime Minister of Fiji
Paraiminisita ni Viti (Fijian)
फिजी के प्रधानमंत्री (Fiji Hindi)
Coat of arms of Fiji.svg
Flag of Fiji.svg
Sitiveni Rabuka 2020.jpg
Sitiveni Rabuka
since 24 December 2022
Style The Honourable [1]
Status Head of government
Member of Cabinet
Seat Government Buildings
Term length Four years
Precursor Chief Minister of Fiji
Inaugural holder Kamisese Mara
Formation10 October 1970;53 years ago (1970-10-10)
Deputy Deputy Prime Minister of Fiji
Salary FJ$ 328,750/US$ 149,431 annually [2]
Website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

The prime minister of Fiji is the head of government of the Republic of Fiji. The prime minister is appointed under the terms of the 2013 Constitution. The prime minister is the head of the Cabinet and appoints and dismisses ministers.


Description of the office

As a former British colony, Fiji has largely adopted British political models and follows the Westminster, or Cabinet, system of government, in which the executive branch of government is responsible to the legislature. Under the 2013 Constitution, the prime minister is the leader of the political party which has won more than half of the total number of seats in Parliament. If no such party exist, the Parliament elects the prime minister.

The prime minister of Fiji is technically the "first among equals," whose vote in meetings of the Cabinet carries no greater weight than that of any other minister. In practice, the prime minister dominates the government. Other ministers are appointed by the prime minister.

History of the office

Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara was appointed Fiji's first prime minister on 10 October 1970, when Fiji attained its independence from Britain. Mara previously served as Fiji's first and only chief minister, from 20 September 1967 (while Fiji still was a British colony). Mara's first term as prime minister lasted until 13 April 1987. He returned to the office for the second term on 5 December 1987, serving until 2 June 1992. As of 2014, Mara is the longest-serving prime minister of Fiji.

List of prime ministers of Fiji (1970–present)

PortraitPrime MinisterTook officeLeft officeTime in officePartyElection Head(s) of state
Prime Ministers of the Dominion of Fiji
Kamisese Mara.jpg
Ratu Sir
Kamisese Mara
10 October 197013 April 198716 years, 185 days  Alliance 1972
1977 (Mar)
1977 (Sep)
Elizabeth II
Bavadra in Sydney, April 1988 (cropped).jpg
Timoci Bavadra
13 April 198714 May 198731 days  Labour 1987 Elizabeth II
Vacant (14 May 1987 – 5 December 1987) [lower-alpha 1]
Prime Ministers of the Republic of Fiji
Kamisese Mara.jpg
Ratu Sir
Kamisese Mara
[lower-alpha 2]
5 December 19872 June 19924 years, 180 days  Independent Ganilau
Sitiveni Rabuka 2020.jpg
Major General (Rtd)
Sitiveni Rabuka
(born 1948)
2 June 199219 May 19996 years, 351 days  SVT 1992
Mahendra Chaudhry 2015.jpg
Mahendra Chaudhry
(born 1942)
19 May 199927 May 20001 year, 8 days  Labour 1999 Mara
No image.png
Tevita Momoedonu
[lower-alpha 3]
27 May 200027 May 20000 days  Labour Mara
Vacant (27 May 2000 – 4 July 2000) [lower-alpha 1]
Fiji 2004 Mr Qarase (cropped).jpg
Laisenia Qarase
[lower-alpha 4]
4 July 200014 March 2001253 days  Independent Bainimarama
No image.png
Tevita Momoedonu
14 March 200116 March 20012 days  Labour Iloilo
Fiji 2004 Mr Qarase (cropped).jpg
Laisenia Qarase
16 March 20015 December 20065 years, 264 days  SDL 2001
No image.png
Jona Senilagakali
[lower-alpha 5]
5 December 20064 January 200730 days  Independent Bainimarama
Bainimarama 2014.jpg
Frank Bainimarama
(born 1954)
[lower-alpha 6]
5 January 200722 September 20147 years, 260 days  RFMF Iloilo
Frank Bainimarama November 2014.jpg
Rear Admiral (Rtd)
Frank Bainimarama
(born 1954)
22 September 201424 December 20228 years, 93 days  FijiFirst 2014
Sitiveni Rabuka 2020.jpg
Major General (Rtd)
Sitiveni Rabuka
(born 1948)
24 December 2022Incumbent1 year, 149 days  People's Alliance 2022 Katonivere


Frank BainimaramaJona SenilagakaliLaisenia QaraseTevita MomoedonuMahendra ChaudhrySitiveni RabukaTimoci BavadraKamisese MaraPrime Minister of Fiji

See also


  1. 1 2 Fiji was left without a prime minister following two military coups in 1987 and a civilian coup d'état in 2000.
  2. Mara's party, the Alliance Party, was dissolved in the wake of the 1987 coups, so he was effectively a nonpartisan prime minister in his last term.
  3. Ratu Momoedonu was appointed Prime Minister on 27 May 2000, by the then-president, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, in order to meet a constitutional technicality. He resigned only a few minutes later, as soon as the technicality had been attended to, in order to allow the president to assume full executive power.
  4. Qarase was not a member of a political party when he headed the interim government in 2000 and early 2001. Following his reinstatement on 16 March 2001 (after two days' absence from office), he founded the United Fiji Party to contest the general election that was to be held later that year.
  5. Senilagakali was installed as Interim Prime Minister as Commodore Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama took control of the government. He was previously a highly esteemed medical doctor, the former president of the Fijian Medical Association, and was military doctor at the time of the coup d'état in 2006. [3]
  6. The Bainimarama government was dismissed as illegal by Fiji's Court of Appeal on 10 April 2009, leading to the prime minister's immediate resignation. He was re-appointed the next day by President Josefa Iloilo, following the latter's abrogation of the Constitution. [4] [5]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Politics of Fiji</span>

The 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 mostly independent of the executive and the legislature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kamisese Mara</span> Fijian former prime minister and president

RatuSir Kamisese Mara, was a Fijian politician who served as Chief Minister from 1967 to 1970, when Fiji gained its independence from the United Kingdom, and, apart from one brief interruption in 1987, as the first Prime Minister from 1970 to 1992. He subsequently served as president from 1993 to 2000.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Epeli Nailatikau</span> Speaker of the House of Fiji

Brigadier-General RatuEpeli Nailatikau, 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">President of Fiji</span> Head of the state of Fiji

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Great Council of Chiefs</span> 1876–2012 & 2023– Fijian constitutional body

The Great Council of Chiefs is a Fijian constitutional body. It previously existed from 1876 to March 2012 and was re-established in May 2023.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1997 Constitution of Fiji</span> 1997–2009 supreme law of Fiji

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.

Brigadier-General RatuEpeli Ganilau, MC, MSD, was a Fijian military officer and politician. His career previously encompassed such roles as Commander of the Fiji Military Forces and Chairman of the Bose Levu Vakaturaga. On 15 January 2007 he was sworn in as Minister for Fijian Affairs in the interim Cabinet formed in the wake of the 2006 Fijian coup d'état which deposed the Qarase government on 5 December 2006.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs</span> 1999–2012 office heading a Fijian constitutional body

The Great Council of Chiefs was and is going to 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sitiveni Rabuka</span> Prime Minister of Fiji from 1992 to 1999 and since 2022

Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka is a Fijian politician, former soldier and former sportsman who has served as Prime Minister of Fiji since 24 December 2022. He was the instigator of two military coups in 1987. He was democratically elected as Prime Minister of Fiji, serving from 1992 to 1999, and again in 2022, leading a three-party coalition. He also served as Chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs from 1999 to 2001, and later as Chairman of the Cakaudrove Provincial Council from 2001 to 2008.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frank Bainimarama</span> Prime Minister of Fiji from 2007 to 2022

Josaia Voreqe "Frank" Bainimarama is a Fijian former politician and naval officer who served as the prime minister of Fiji from 2007 until 2022. A member of the FijiFirst party, which he founded in 2014, he began his career as an officer in the Fijian navy and commander of the Fijian military. Despite being suspended from Parliament, he served as the opposition leader from 24 December 2022 until 8 March 2023, when he resigned and was replaced by Inia Seruiratu.

RatuTevita Momoedonu was a Fijian politician who served as the fifth Prime Minister of Fiji twice – each time extremely briefly. Both appointments were to get around constitutional technicalities; his first term of office – on 27 May 2000 lasted only a few minutes. His second term – from 14 to 16 March 2001 was for two days. He subsequently served his country as Ambassador of Fiji to Japan. Using his chiefly title of "Taukei Sawaieke", he later led pushed for the Yasana of Ba to secede from the Burebasaga and Kubuna Confederacies to form their own fourth confederacy under the Tui Vuda, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, who died in 2011.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2000 Fijian coup d'état</span> Coup that overthrew Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry

The Fiji coup d'état of 2000 was 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. This was followed by an attempt on 27 May by President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara to assert executive authority, and then by a military coup on 29 May by Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Sir Timoci Uluiburotu Tuivaga was a Fijian judge, who was Chief Justice from 31 March 1980 to 31 July 2002, when he retired. He was Fiji's first native-born Chief Justice.

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 the global COVID-19 pandemic, which affected the economy and the daily lives of the people.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Resignation of Kamisese Mara</span>

Fiji's President, Ratu Sir Kamisese 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Reaction to the 2005–2006 Fijian political crisis</span>

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Josefa Iloilo</span> President of Fiji from 2000 to 2009

RatuJosefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda, was a Fijian politician who served as the 3rd President of Fiji from 2000 until 2009, excluding a brief period from 5 December 2006 to 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Constitution of Fiji</span> Supreme law of Fiji

The Constitution of Fiji is the supreme law of Fiji. There have been four Constitutions since the first was adopted in 1970. The first constitution, adopted in 1970 upon independence, was abrogated following two military coups in 1987. A second constitution, the Constitution of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Fiji, was adopted in 1990. Its discriminatory provisions, which reserved the office of Prime Minister and a built-in majority in the House of Representatives for indigenous Fijians proved very unpopular with the Indo-Fijian community, which comprised almost half the country's population, and in the mid 1990s the government agreed that it should be rewritten. The third constitution, The Constitution of the Republic of the Fiji Islands dates from 1997. The current constitution was implemented in 2013.

<i>Republic of Fiji Islands v Prasad</i> 2001 Court of Appeal of Fiji judgment

Republic of Fiji Islands v Prasad is a 2001 landmark decision of the Court of Appeal of Fiji which upheld the 1997 Constitution of Fiji in the aftermath of the 2000 Fijian coup d'état. The court agreed with the previous High Court of Fiji ruling that the constitution had not been overturned and that Parliament had not been dissolved, but only prorogued. It also found that the office of President of Fiji had only become vacant in December 2000 after Kamisese Mara resigned following the High Court ruling.


  1. "Office of the Prime Minister Directory". Office of the Prime Minister. 29 December 2022. Retrieved 25 April 2023.
  2. "PARLIAMENTARY REMUNERATIONS DECREE 2014 (DECREE NO. 29 OF 2014)" (PDF). Government of Fiji. 3 October 2014.
  3. "Military now in charge in Fiji". Fiji Times. 5 December 2006. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2006.
  4. "Fiji's Bainimarama steps down as PM", Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10 April 2009
  5. "Commodore Bainimarama sworn in as Prime Minister" Archived 15 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine , Fiji government, 11 April 2009