Fiji's Constitutional Conundrum

Brij Lal

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Fiji's 1997 multiracial constitution has had a short but troubled history. It has survived a putsch and an attempted abrogation by Fiji's military, but nationalist forces have made its revocation a central plank of their political agenda. At the heart of Fiji's recent constitutional imbroglio lies a deep debate about the mandatory power-sharing provision of the constitution (section 99) that political parties with more than 10 per cent of seats in parliament are entitled to serve in cabinet. Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase regards the formula as unworkable when political parties have diametrically opposed agendas, while deposed prime minister and Labour leader Mahendra Chaudhry insists that it can work if parties negotiate in good faith, as his own party did in 1999. But beyond the constitutional difficulties lie deeper questions about whether primordiality or political ideology should underpin Fiji's political culture.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)671-685
    JournalThe Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs
    Issue number372
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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