Cyclone Yasa leaves thousands homeless in Fiji

By Tom Peters, 19 December 2020

More than 23,000 people fled to evacuation centres on Thursday night as the Pacific island nation was hit by what could prove to be its most severe cyclone in history.

COVID-19 death toll continues climbing in the Pacific

By John Braddock, 12 December 2020

The ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases across the Pacific is amplifying the existing public health crisis.

Fiji and Australia to negotiate new military pact

By John Braddock, 1 December 2020

The move to establish closer Fiji-Australian military ties is part of the intensifying US-led build-up to counter China’s influence in the south west Pacific.

Ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases across Pacific Island states

By John Braddock, 23 July 2020

The global health and economic crisis is having a catastrophic impact on the fragile and impoverished former colonies across the Pacific.

Escalating economic and political crisis hits Fiji

By John Braddock, 25 June 2020

The government’s resort to authoritarian measures reflects growing social tensions as the economy nosedives.

New Zealand PM Ardern boosts relations on Fiji visit

By John Braddock, 7 March 2020

Ardern’s visit was used to cement relations with Fiji, which plays a critical role in the US-led drive to counter growing Chinese influence and prepare for war.

Fiji authorities suppress May Day protests, arrest locked-out workers

By John Braddock, 10 May 2019

The sacking and persecution of the FWA workers and ban on the protests again underlines the dictatorial nature of the Fijian regime, which rests directly on the military.

New Zealand foreign minister visits Fiji to strengthen military ties

By John Braddock, 6 March 2019

The Labour-led government’s boost to the Fijian military is part of a Pacific Reset strategy to reassert its imperialist interests as part of the US-led confrontation with China.

Fiji First Party retains power in sham election

By John Braddock, 16 November 2018

The election, marked by widespread voter abstention, was a contest between two parties run by former military coup leaders.

Cyclone Gita leaves thousands homeless in Tonga

By Tom Peters, 14 February 2018

Australia and New Zealand have announced grossly inadequate aid after the storm destroyed crops and damaged about 40 percent of houses on Tonga’s main island.

Fiji airport workers return after month-long lockout

By John Braddock, 26 January 2018

The court order reflected fears in ruling circles, including in the trade unions, that the dispute was threatening to provoke a broader rebellion among working people.

Fiji Times publisher, editors charged with sedition

By John Braddock, 27 April 2017

The politically-motivated charges, alongside other anti-democratic measures, are bound up with deep-seated conflicts within the Fijian ruling elite.

Amnesty International reports Fiji’s police and military using torture

By John Braddock, 16 December 2016

Ongoing and widespread brutality by Fiji’s security forces is conducted in a climate of “near impunity.”

New Zealand moves to restore relations with Fijian regime

By John Braddock, 4 November 2016

New Zealand’s welcoming of Fiji’s Prime Minister Bainimarama was aimed at advancing the geo-strategic interests of the US and its local allies against China.

Regional dispute erupts over arrest of Fijian opposition leaders

By John Braddock, 20 September 2016

The intervention of Australia and New Zealand has nothing to do with defending democratic rights in Fiji, but with countering Beijing’s growing influence in the region.

Pacific forum reveals regional geo-strategic tensions

By John Braddock, 16 September 2016

The admission of two French territories into the Pacific Islands Forum signals the involvement of another imperialist power in a bid to counter China.

Pacific island economies hit by global slump

By John Braddock, 17 August 2016

Led by falling commodity prices and sharp declines in the Pacific’s largest economies, growth across the region will fall sharply in 2016.

New Zealand PM’s diplomatic debacle in Fiji

By John Braddock, 21 June 2016

Bainimarama bluntly refused to accede to NZ Prime Minister Key’s agenda.

Fiji cyclone: Australian and New Zealand military mobilised for “humanitarian” relief

By Richard Phillips, 8 March 2016

While thousands of Fijians desperately need assistance, Canberra and Wellington have seized on the disaster to advance their own geo-strategic interests.

Tens of thousands homeless in Fiji cyclone disaster

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 February 2016

Australia and New Zealand have responded by dispatching substantial military hardware to Fiji.

At least 29 dead, thousands displaced after Cyclone Winston hits Fiji

By Oscar Grenfell, 23 February 2016

The most powerful storm ever recorded in the region has produced a mounting humanitarian crisis.

Fiji orders second arms consignment from Russia

By John Braddock, 20 February 2016

Moves by Russia to establish itself as a Pacific power, in response to the US drive to dominate the region, will only heighten tensions in the Asia Pacific.

Russian arms consignment arrives in Fiji

By John Braddock, 28 January 2016

The shipment underlines the deepening geo-strategic tensions in the Pacific.

Pacific Island nations “bearing the brunt” of climate change

By John Braddock, 7 December 2015

Rising sea levels and extreme weather events are beginning to destroy Pacific Islands and threaten their existence.

Fiji PM threatens “severe punishment” for 70 people charged with sedition

By John Braddock, 8 September 2015

The sedition trials underline the continuing undemocratic nature of the Fijian regime, despite a bogus election in September 2014.

India reaches into the South Pacific to counter China

By John Braddock, 27 August 2015

The summit was part of Indian efforts to build defence and strategic ties in the Asia-Pacific, designed to counter Chinese influence.

Australia, US back sham election staged by Fiji military regime

By Frank Gaglioti, 4 October 2014

The major powers are seeking to forge stronger ties with Fiji as a means of undercutting China’s influence in the South Pacific.

Australian government woos Fijian military regime

By Patrick O’Connor, 18 February 2014

The normalisation of relations with the junta is aimed at undercutting Fiji’s ties with China.

Fijian junta discards draft constitution

By Frank Gaglioti, 23 January 2013

While elections are still to be held next year, the military leaders are determined to retain a major role in government.

Fijian military objects to draft constitution

By Frank Gaglioti, 11 January 2013

The military is insisting that it continue to have a say in the governance of the Pacific island nation.

Cyclone Evan causes serious damage in Fiji

By Terry Cook, 31 December 2012

High winds flattened homes, destroyed farms, ruined crops, uprooted trees and tore down vital infrastructure.

Top-level Chinese delegation visits Fiji

By Frank Gaglioti, 4 October 2012

The small Pacific state is being drawn into the vortex of the US-China rivalry that is reaching into every corner of the region.

Australia normalises relations with Fijian regime

By Patrick O’Connor, 4 August 2012

The move is aimed at countering China’s growing diplomatic influence in Fiji and the South Pacific region.

Flooding in Fiji kills seven, leaves thousands homeless

By Will Morrow, 1 February 2012

More than 3,500 people were forced to flee their homes last week to makeshift evacuation centres established in schools, military bases and government buildings.

Fijian military government announces end to emergency laws

By Will Morrow, 6 January 2012

The decision was cautiously welcomed by the US and Australia, signalling a possible rapprochement between the regional powers and the military junta.

Fijian junta imposes draconian anti-union laws

By Will Morrow, 17 December 2011

Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s military regime has deepened its assault on the working class, seeking to lure foreign investment.

WikiLeaks cables reveal Australian government divisions over Fijian junta

By Patrick O’Connor, 1 September 2011

In 2009, amid fears of rising Chinese influence, the parliamentary secretary for Pacific Island Affairs secretly urged the US to pressure Prime Minister Rudd to reach an accommodation with the Fijian regime.

US delegation tours Pacific island states

By Frank Gaglioti, 18 July 2011

The initiative was aimed at reinforcing US dominance in the region and came as the Obama administration stepped up its provocative efforts to contain Chinese influence in East Asia.

WikiLeaks cables reveal Chinese vice president’s secret visit to Fiji, in defiance of Australia

By Robert Morgan, 27 May 2011

Beijing told Canberra the 2009 flight to Fiji was a mere “transit” stopover, en route to Latin America, but Vice President Xi Jinping then spent two days meeting with senior junta members.

Split erupts within Fijian military regime

By Frank Gaglioti and Patrick O’Connor, 25 May 2011

Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Mara has coupled his demand for “regime change” with an appeal to Australia and New Zealand to intervene.

South Pacific countries defy Australian government and back Fijian military regime

By Patrick O’Connor, 4 April 2011

Canberra’s strategy of shoring up its control over the South Pacific by forcing the military to return Fiji to civilian rule now lies in tatters.

US moves to normalise relations with Fiji’s junta

By Frank Gaglioti, 21 October 2010

The Obama administration has moved to reestablish ties with the military regime in Fiji, cutting across the Australian government’s imposition of sanctions.

Fiji expels senior Australian diplomat

By Patrick O’Connor, 15 July 2010

Amid rising great power rivalries across the Pacific, the Australian government sabotaged a meeting of Melanesian Spearhead Group heads of government that was due to be held in Fiji next week.

Fijian military junta suppresses media

By Frank Gaglioti, 12 July 2010

The Media Industry Development Decree 2010 contains a series of antidemocratic prescriptions aimed at silencing any voices of opposition against the regime.

Fiji hit by destructive cyclone

By Patrick O’Connor, 18 March 2010

Cyclone Tomas inflicted major damage in parts of Fiji this week. Fiji’s military dictator, Frank Bainimarama declared a state of emergency in the country’s northern and eastern divisions.

Pressure mounts for Australian rapprochement with Fiji

By Patrick O’Connor, 3 February 2010

Pressure is mounting within the Australian foreign policy establishment for Canberra to normalise relations with the Fijian military junta.

Fiji expels Australian and New Zealand diplomats

By Frank Gaglioti, 7 November 2009

Tensions between Fiji and the two regional powers, Australia and New Zealand, intensified further this week after Suva expelled two top diplomats for interfering in the country’s internal affairs.

Fiji: Military junta proposes new constitution, elections by 2014

By Frank Gaglioti and Patrick O’Connor, 24 July 2009

Coming ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit in Australia early next month, a defiant speech by Fiji’s strongman Bainimarama and the divided response are indications of Canberra’s waning hegemony in the South Pacific.

Fijian military junta faces economic and social turmoil

By Frank Gaglioti, 27 May 2009

With Fiji on the verge of bankruptcy, Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s regime has stepped up its attacks on the conditions of workers and small farmers.

Fijian military defiance triggers Australian foreign policy debate

By Will Marshall, 4 May 2009

The Fijian junta’s determination to defy the Australian government has exacerbated the dilemma confronting Canberra in the South Pacific. The rise of China as an alternative source of economic and political support is undermining the previous dominance of the US over the region and therefore Australia’s role as Washington’s proxy.

Fiji’s military junta consolidates power in defiance of Australian government

By Frank Gaglioti and Patrick O’Connor, 14 April 2009

Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s rejection of a Fijian Appeals Court ruling and defiance of Australian government threats reflect the shifting balance of power in the South Pacific. With Beijing’s economic and diplomatic influence rapidly growing, Canberra can no longer be sure that its dictates will be obeyed in its long-standing sphere of influence.

Australia threatens Fiji with suspension from Pacific Islands Forum

By Frank Gaglioti, 2 February 2009

A “special leaders’ retreat” of the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum, convened in Papua New Guinea on January 27, concluded with a threat to suspend Fiji from the regional body unless the military junta announces elections by May 1 and conducts the poll by the end of the year.

Thousands displaced in Fiji by severe flooding

By Margaret Rees, 15 January 2009

Tropical storms triggered severe flooding in Fiji last weekend, killing at least 11 people. More than 9,000 people have abandoned their homes and fled to evacuation centres.

Fiji: High Court rejects former prime minister’s legal challenge to military junta

By Frank Gaglioti, 22 October 2008

Fiji’s High Court has effectively whitewashed the 2006 military coup that ousted the former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

Fiji: Military junta pushes pro-investor “Peoples Charter” reforms

By Frank Gaglioti, 10 October 2008

The Fijian military junta is currently promoting its draft "People's Charter for Change, Peace and Progress"-which outlines proposed economic and political reforms-through a series of public forums and "consultations".

Labour ministers quit Fiji’s military regime

By Frank Gaglioti, 29 August 2008

Labour Party leader and interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry has resigned from Fiji’s crisis-ridden military regime along with two other Labour Party ministers, depriving interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama of a key political prop. Since taking power in a military coup in December 2006, the regime has been unable to fulfil its aim of stabilising the Fijian economy and is riddled with internal contradictions.

Fijian military regime reimposes emergency rule

By Frank Gaglioti, 19 September 2007

Fijian military dictator Frank Bainimarama reimposed emergency rule on September 5 following deposed prime minister Laisenia Qarase’s return to the capital, Suva. An earlier emergency decree, declared after last December’s coup, was lifted in May. Its reimposition underscores the depth of the crisis facing the unstable military regime.

Fiji: Public sector workers vote to strike despite military regime’s threats

By Frank Gaglioti, 16 April 2007

Fijian civil servants voted to strike last month against the military junta’s proposed 5 percent pay cut and elimination of thousands of public sector jobs through the reduction of the retirement age from 60 to 55. While the strike ballots reveal mounting working class opposition toward the administration’s pro-investment economic agenda, the trade unions are doing everything in their power to cut a deal with the regime and avoid industrial action.

Canberra prepares rapprochement with Fijian military junta

By Frank Gaglioti, 6 April 2007

The Howard government, in close collaboration with the US, European Union, and New Zealand, has signalled its readiness to tacitly recognise the Fijian military regime and normalise diplomatic relations. The rapprochement underscores the cynicism of Canberra’s purported concern for democratic rights in Fiji following the military’s takeover last December. Howard’s real priority, both then and now, is to preserve stability in the South Pacific and prevent any diminution of Australia’s regional strategic position.

Fijian military junta imposes austerity budget

By Frank Gaglioti, 6 March 2007

The Fijian military regime’s finance minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, introduced a revised 2007 budget on March 2, imposing the brunt of the small Pacific island state’s disastrous economic situation on public servants and working people in general. With Fiji’s Reserve Bank warning that the economy will contract by 2.5 percent of GDP this year, the budget represents a desperate bid by Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama’s junta to deliver the requirements of investors.

Fiji: Pacific Islands Forum report urges coup leader to stand aside

By Frank Gaglioti, 1 March 2007

A Pacific Islands Forum Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report, leaked to the PacNews agency on February 20, urges the Fijian military regime to stand aside and install an interim civilian administration. However, it does not call for a return of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase’s government, which was forced out of office on December 5.

Fiji’s military junta strong-arms its political opponents

By Frank Gaglioti, 27 February 2007

Since seizing power last December, the Fijian military junta has not hesitated to ride roughshod over basic democratic rights and use brute force to silence any opposition. Arbitrary arrests, the use of physical violence against detainees and at least one death in custody all point to the ruthless methods being used.

Fiji’s army commander unveils new military regime

By Frank Gaglioti and Peter Symonds, 16 January 2007

Fiji’s coup leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama announced his cabinet last week and, in doing so, made clear the sharp divisions in the country’s ruling elite that underlay his seizure of power on December 5. The military leader assumed the post of prime minister while the remainder of the cabinet is drawn from opposition parties—the Labour Party and National Alliance Party (NAP)—as well as a number of technocrats.

Fijian crisis drags on as military delays formation of interim administration

By Rick Kelly, 22 December 2006

More than two weeks after the Fijian military overthrew the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, no administration or junta has been formed. Power remains concentrated solely in the hands of Commodore Frank Bainimarama and his appointed interim prime minister, 77-year-old army doctor Jona Senilagakali.

Fijian military regime moves to suppress any opposition

By Rick Kelly, 8 December 2006

After ousting the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase on Tuesday, the Fijian military has moved to consolidate its uncertain grip on power, and has warned the population that it is prepared to use force to suppress any opposition. Heavily armed soldiers continue to man checkpoints in Suva, the country’s capital.

Fijian government ousted in military coup

By Rick Kelly, 6 December 2006

The Fijian military yesterday overthrew the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. Military head Commodore Frank Bainimarama declared himself interim president and appointed 77-year-old military doctor Jona Senolagakali as prime minister. Heavily armed soldiers are patrolling the streets of Suva, Fiji’s capital.

Fijian political crisis intensifies amid continuing threats of a coup

By Rick Kelly, 4 December 2006

Amid a highly unstable and uncertain standoff, Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and military head Commodore Frank Bainimarama are both claiming control of the country. Bainimarama has declared that his long-threatened “clean up campaign” against the government is now underway. He claims the military will soon install a new interim cabinet to replace Qarase’s, but it has not yet done so, despite the passing of numerous deadlines for the government to meet its demands. Qarase continues to insist he will not resign and remains in charge.

Canberra prepares for possible military intervention in Fiji

By Rick Kelly, 29 November 2006

Amid stepped up threats by the Fijian military to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, Canberra is taking aggressive steps to protect its interests in the country and the region. The Howard government will host a meeting of the 16 Pacific Islands Forum foreign ministers on Friday in order to invoke the “Biketawa Declaration,” which authorises regional intervention into the affairs of member states, potentially including military intervention.

Australian government provocations heighten political crisis in Fiji

By Rick Kelly, 9 November 2006

The Fijian military has stepped up its criticisms of the government amid ongoing fears of a coup. Military head Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who returned to Fiji from the Middle East last Saturday, yesterday condemned the government’s “lack of integrity, moral courage, and sound judgement”. While claiming that he did not wish to overthrow Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, Bainimarama did not rule out a coup if the military’s demands were not accepted.

Coup threat in Fiji as confrontation between army and government intensifies

By Mike Head, 2 November 2006

A tense standoff between the government and the army in the Pacific Island state of Fiji has raised the prospect of another coup—the fourth in two decades. Behind these extreme tensions lie a deepening social and economic crisis that is further compounding the unresolved conflicts in Fijian ruling circles created by the previous attempted putsch in 2000.

Fiji’s economic conscripts: tragic victims of the war in Iraq

By Frank Gaglioti, 23 June 2006

The death of three Fijian security guards in Iraq on June 9 brought the Fijian death toll to 11 over three months and highlighted the little known involvement of more than 3,000 Fijian nationals as soldiers and contractors in the US-led occupation. The tragic deaths have had a terrible impact on the tiny island state of 893,000 people. The Fijians are economic conscripts sucked into the Middle East war through their desperation to escape poverty and unemployment at home.

Fiji’s election results in unstable coalition government

By Frank Gaglioti, 26 May 2006

The ruling Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewe ni Vanua (SDL) Party won a majority in Fiji’s closely-fought election last week, enabling incumbent prime minister Laisenia Qarase to claim victory on May 17. But the racially polarised outcome has only set the stage for further political turmoil.

Fiji: government and union assist Emperor Gold Mine to slash jobs

By Noel Holt, 13 May 2006

With the assistance of the government and the Fiji Mine Workers Union (FMWU), the Australian-owned Emperor Gold Mine (EGM) has forced workers to accept the restructuring of its operations in the northwest region of Viti Levu Island and the slashing of around 300 jobs.

Fijian elections could ignite social and political tinderbox

By Frank Gaglioti, 10 May 2006

Voting commenced in the Fijian elections on May 6 under tight military and police security. The poll is being conducted over a week amid considerable tension, including threats of a coup if the Labour Party emerges as the winner. The campaign has been dominated by appeals to race and ethnic identity to divert attention from the increasing economic and social instability facing the Pacific island state.

Fiji remains tense after new coup threat

By Frank Gagliotti, 16 January 2006

Bitter divisions in ruling circles in the small Pacific island state of Fiji have resurfaced after the country’s military commander, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, last week threatened to stage a coup if the government proceeded with its planned Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill. The legislation, which would provide amnesty for the leaders of a May 2000 coup attempt, is due to be passed in February when the parliament resumes.

Threats of a new military coup in Fiji

By Frank Gaglioti, 11 August 2005

Legislation under discussion in the Fijian parliament threatens to precipitate a full-blown political crisis in the small island state, just five years after a failed coup attempt in 2000. The key element of the Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill that has provoked bitter controversy is a proposed amnesty for those involved in the coup, including nominal coup leader George Speight, who is serving a life sentence for treason.

Fijian government moves to pardon coup plotters

By Frank Gaglioti, 16 June 2005

In a move that is certain to heighten political tensions, the Fijian government tabled its so-called Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill in parliament on May 31. The legislation, which has been derided as the “Get-Out-Of-Jail Bill” in the Fijian press, provides a general amnesty for those involved in seizing control of parliament in May 2000 and holding the Labour-led government of Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry at gunpoint for nearly two months.

Textile factory closure devastates Fijian economy

By Frank Gaglioti, 19 May 2005

The April closure of the Ghim Li Apparel factory, Fiji’s largest manufacturer, will have a devastating impact on the economy and dramatically heighten social and political tensions in the small Pacific state. The Governor of the Reserve Bank, Savenaca Narube, has already slashed the projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for next year from 1.5 percent to 1.2 percent.

Fiji vice-president jailed for treason over 2000 coup attempt

By Frank Gaglioti, 11 August 2004

Fiji’s Vice-President Ratu Jope Seniloli and four other leading politicians, including the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, were sentenced last Friday to jail terms for sedition and taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence. Seniloli is the most senior figure to be found guilty for his role in the 2000 coup attempt.

Fijian vice-president on trial for treason

By Frank Gaglioti, 1 July 2004

Amid extraordinary security precautions, the trial of Fiji’s Vice-President Ratu Jope Seniloli and five other leading political figures on charges related to their participation in the May 2000 coup attempt opened in the Suva high court on Monday. The six have been charged with sedition and taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence, and, if found guilty, could face life imprisonment.

Tropical storms and heavy flooding devastate Fiji

By Frank Gaglioti, 27 April 2004

A severe tropical rainstorm has caused major flooding on Fiji’s two main islands—Viti Levu and Vanua Levu—leaving local authorities struggling to cope with the thousands of people who have been affected. The storm began on April 8 with wind gusts of up to 90 kilometres per hour accompanied by torrential rain that lasted for more than a week, causing flash flooding and landslides.

Tensions continue to wrack Fijian government

By Peter Byrne, 22 February 2002

Two recent court cases highlight the tensions wracking the Fijian political establishment nearly two years after businessman George Speight led elite soldiers and thugs in a coup that ousted Mahendra Chaudhry’s Labour Party-led Peoples Coalition government. Both court cases had potentially explosive implications for Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase’s unstable, racially-based government.

Race-based regime clings to power in Fiji

By Peter Byrne and Mike Head, 27 November 2001

Since elections nearly three months ago, the racially-based Fiji government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has consolidated its hold over the country, primarily due to the role played by the Labour Party, led by ousted prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

Race-based government formed in Fiji

By Peter Byrne and Mike Head, 17 September 2001

Following general elections earlier this month, Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has appointed a cabinet without a single Indo-Fijian member and excluded the Labour Party, sparking a fresh political and constitutional crisis in the Pacific Ocean island state of some 820,000 people. By rejecting the Labour Party’s request to join the ministry, Qarase breached the country’s 1997 Constitution, which requires cabinet seats to be offered to all parties with more than eight Members of Parliament.

Fijian election dominated by racialist politics and instability

By Peter Byrne, 25 August 2001

When voting begins today in Fiji’s general election, the 451,000 voters of the Pacific island state will face an unprecedented array of 18 parties, some of which did not even exist several months ago. Of the 351 candidates standing for 71 parliamentary seats, about half represent new parties.

Fijian regime seeks to stall two threatening court cases

By Will Marshall, 28 June 2001

The military-appointed regime in Fiji and key members of the judiciary are going to great lengths to delay two court cases, both of which have the potential to destabilise, if not remove, the current government.

Fiji's illegal government reinstalled

By Tim Joy, 19 March 2001

Fijian President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, himself newly re-appointed by the unelected Great Council of Chiefs, has reinstalled the military-backed government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, which was declared illegal by Fiji's Court of Appeal on March 1.

Fijian chiefs split over political crisis

By Tim Joy, 13 March 2001

Having met for two days, Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) broke up last Friday without making any decision on the country's political crisis. Acting President Ratu Josefo Iloilo called the 52 landed chiefs together to obtain advice after the Fijian Court of Appeal declared the military-installed Interim Government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase illegal. Unable to agree, however, the chiefs adjourned until this week to consider their options.

Fijian government declared illegal but refuses to resign

By Tim Joy and Mike Head, 3 March 2001

Despite being declared illegal by Fiji's Court of Appeal on March 1, the country's military-installed Interim Government has refused to step aside and its leaders have indicated that they may try to cling on to office. Far from resolving the political crisis created by last May 19's seizure of parliament by elite army units and racialist gunmen led by George Speight, the court's verdict has sparked a new power struggle within Fiji's ruling elite.

Political tensions rise in Fiji ahead of court ruling

By Tim Joy, 12 February 2001

Political tensions are coming to a head in Fiji with the country's highest court—the Court of Appeal—due to sit on February 19 to rule on the legality of the interim government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. The police have banned all demonstrations on the day that the case opens.

Fijian military government defies another High Court order

By Tim Joy, 4 January 2001

A Fijian High Court Judge has denied an application by the military-appointed Interim Government for an order staying his earlier ruling that the government is illegal. The latest decision by Justice Anthony Gates, handed down on December 20, has widened the split between the regime and sections of the judiciary and deepened political uncertainty in Fiji.

Fiji's military government wins more explicit backing from Australia and New Zealand

By Tim Joy, 19 December 2000

The Australian and New Zealand governments have strengthened their support for the military-installed interim government in Fiji by making it plain that they are not calling for the reinstatement of deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

Fijian High Court ruling declares military government illegal

By Mike Head, 20 November 2000

A Fijian High Court judge ruled on November 15 that the military-appointed Interim Government of Laisenia Qarase is illegal, heightening the volatile political situation in the Pacific island state.

Mutiny highlights deep splits in Fiji's military regime

By Mike Head, 4 November 2000

Sharp and unresolved differences within Fiji's military regime erupted to the surface on November 2 when members of the elite Counter Revolutionary Warfare unit who participated in George Speight's May 19 coup seized an armoury and other sections of the military headquarters in Suva, Fiji's capital.

Fiji's High Court intervenes to prevent Speight's release

By Tim Joy, 20 September 2000

The High Court of Fiji has ordered a magistrate not to rule on treason charges against coup leader George Speight and 11 other detainees, preventing their release. The court's intervention points to divisions within the judiciary as the military-backed interim government struggles to assert its legitimacy and win stronger backing from the Western powers.

Intent on securing Western support

Fiji's regime charges coup leaders with treason

By Tim Joy, 21 August 2000

In an apparent effort to retain Western backing and lure foreign investment, Fiji's military-appointed government charged coup leader George Speight and 14 others with treason on August 11. By laying such serious charges—treason carries the death penalty—the regime seems anxious to prove that it is in firm control of the Pacific island state.

Under Western pressure, Fiji's military moves against coup leaders

By Mike Head and Linda Tenenbaum, 1 August 2000

The mass arrest of George Speight and his followers last week points to a deal being struck between Australia and other Western powers and Fiji's military leaders. In return for taking action against Speight and reasserting control over the country's divided armed forces and police, the military's handpicked regime will be subjected to only limited sanctions, while international demands for the restoration of the elected Chaudhry government, deposed by Speight's self-styled “civilian coup” of May 19, will be dropped.