SEMINAR - Anticipating the 2014 Election in Fiji

Scott MacWilliam

    Research output: Other contribution


    With an election to be held in September 2014, nine years after the last, there is considerable attention being paid to unknown factors which may affect the outcome. A reformed election system with malapportioned single member electorates replaced by a single national constituency with a form of proportional representation, a lowered voting age from 21 to 18, a substantial proportion of the population with little or no experience of electoral politics, and considerable internal movement of people from rural to urban and peri-urban areas ensure that predicting the outcome of voting will be difficult. The rapid spread of mobile phones and other electronic devices and the rise of so-called social media probably add to the uncertainty, especially in circumstances where there is at best patchy empirical evidence upon which to base assessments. However less attention is being paid to what is probably even more important than the above factors. Elections can be important for determining how divisions within the ruling class and its allies are settled politically. The defeat of the SVT-NFP alliance at the 1999 election marginalised the rising indigenous Fijian capitalists and forced their representatives to use other means to take back political power. How the differing commercial concerns have been represented politically during the eight years of military rule has been little researched. The seminar examines some of the changes which have taken place in commerce over that period and how these may affect party support. Critically, will the businessmen and women who have continued to operate during the period of military rule provide support for Fiji First, the party led by the former commander or return to their `homes' at earlier elections, the parties which now are forming an electoral alliance as the United Front for a Democratic Fiji?
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationCanberra Australia
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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