Fiji is in a state of political flux after President President Ratu Josefa Iloilo announced he had repealed the country’s constitution, appointed himself head of state and set a 2014 election deadline.
He said on Friday he had also sacked all the judges and established a “new legal order” following Thursday’s Court of Appeal ruling that the country’s military regime was illegally appointed following the 2006 coup.
So much for rule of law and democratic contitutionalism Fiji-style. Here is the Court of Appeal decision (fairly large .pdf file) for those interested. Fiji actually has a Constitution which appears on its face to be very well drafted. Why do you think they’ve had no less than 4 separate coups/major constitutional crises in the last 20 years, in contrast to Australia which has had none in more than a hundred years?
There are clearly factors other than constitutional and legal ones in play here. What might they be? Tensions between Polynesian/native and Fijian/Indians were obviously a large factor in previous coups. But is that still the case? I gather that a lot of Indians have simply “voted with their feet” and left Fiji for good. Is it just that power has corrupted Bainimarama in the Lord Acton sense like Mugabe in Zimbabwe? Or are there other factors? I’m not as closely familiar with Fiji’s current situation as I should be.