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List of Prime Ministers of Fiji

From Academic Kids

Template:Politics of Fiji

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. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, but must be supported, or at least accepted, by a majority in the House of Representatives. If at any time the Prime Minister loses the "confidence" of the House, he must resign, along with the entire Cabinet. In practice, this usually reduces the Prime Minister's appointment to a formality, as the parliamentary leader of the majority political party or coalition is invariably appointed. If, however, no such majority party or coalition exists, whether due to electoral fragmentation or to party realignments after an election, the President's role becomes much more important. The President must endeavour to find a candidate acceptable to a majority in the House; if no such candidate can be found, the President must dissolve Parliament and call an election prematurely.

The Prime Minister of Fiji is technically the "first among equals," whose vote in meetings of the Cabinet carries no greater weight that that of any other minister. In practice, the Prime Minister dominates the government. Other Ministers are appointed by the President, but on the Prime Minister's advice, and may be dismissed by him at any time (although his control over ministerial appointments may be tempered by the realities of coalition politics: the leader or leaders of coalition partners may insist on having a say in the matter too).

Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara was appointed Fiji's first Chief Minister on 20 September 1967. When Fiji attained its independence from Britain on 10 October 1970, the office was renamed Prime Minister. Despite the renaming, the functions of the office were not significantly changed, and the table below therefore counts Mara's term as Chief Minister as part of his Prime Ministerial term.

OrderLeaderPolitical PartyTerm of office
1.Ratu Sir Kamisese MaraFijian Alliance20 September 1967 - 13 April 1987
2.Timoci BavadraFiji Labour Party13 April 1987 - 14 May 1987
vacant [1]14 May 1987 - 5 December 1987
.Ratu Sir Kamisese Maranone [2]5 December 1987 - 2 June 1992
3.Sitiveni RabukaFijian Political Party2 June 1992 - 19 May 1999
4.Mahendra ChaudhryFiji Labour Party19 May 1999 - 27 May 2000
5.Ratu Tevita MomoedonuFiji Labour Party27 May 2000 (minutes)[3]
vacant [1]27 May 2000 - 4 July 2000
6.Laisenia Qarasenone [4]4 July 2000 - 14 March 2001
.Ratu Tevita MomoedonuFiji Labour Party14 March 2001 - 16 March 2001 (interim)
.Laisenia QaraseUnited Fiji Party [4]16 March 2001 - present
  • [1] Two military coups in 1987 and a civilian coup d'état in 2000 left Fiji without a Prime Minister each time.
  • [2] Mara's party, the Fijian Alliance, was dissolved in the wake of the 1987 coups, so he was effectively a non-party Prime Minister in his last term.
  • [3] Ratu Momoedonu was appointed Prime Minister on May 27 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 parliamentary election that was to be held later that year.
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