Fiji: Return to Democracy workshop

Wednesday 5 November 9am – 4pm
Lecture Theatre 1, Hedley Bull Centre (130)
Australian National University
Speakers Include: 
Ms Tupou Draunidalo MP (National Federation Party)
Professor Satish Chand (University of New South Wales)
Professor Jon Fraenkel (Victoria University of Wellington)

[click here to register / view draft program here]

About the workshop: In September, Fiji held its first election in eight years, the first under the 2013 constitution, and the first using a common roll of electors with proportional representation. In the new parliament of 50 seats, the coup leader of 2006, Frank Bainimarama, emerged triumphant. His FijiFirst party won 32 seats, with SODELPA, a successor party to earlier indigenous Fijian parties, winning 15 and the National Federation Party three. The election of the new parliament marked the end of Fiji’s longest period under a military government since independence.

Fiji’s return to democracy raises key questions which this Workshop seeks to explore. How were the elections conducted? Were they free from fraud and manipulation? How did the new system of proportional representation operate and how were the votes counted? What will the impact of the elections be on key institutions such as the Methodist Church? How will women fare under the new dispensation and what role did they play in the elections? What are the prospects for the Fiji economy under an elected government? What will be the impact on Fiji’s relations with Australia, the Pacific Islands and the world beyond? What will the role of the military be in this militarised democracy? And, most important of all, how should we judge the significance of these elections in the context of Fiji’s turbulent history since independence? Is the full reconstruction of Fijian democracy possible under the present government?

Speakers will address these issues and more. There will be ample opportunity for audience participation. And the event will end with a panel discussion and question-and-answer session.

All Welcome. 

Enquiries: ssgm@anu.edu.au

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