As a result a new broadly accepted Constitution came into effect in July 1998. Since all the parties took part in this review this new Constitution was created after a good consultation among the Fiji people. This process also assured political and economic stability of Fiji.
In May 1999 election was held under the new Constitution. Surprisingly enough the Labor Party won the election. Mahendra Chaudhry, an Indo-Fijian became the Prime Minister. This new Government in Fiji was formed after peaceful transition of power.
The President is the head of state while the Prime Minister is head of Fiji Government. The parliament is comprised of the President, an elected House of Representatives with 1 member and a nominated Senate with 32 members.
Currently Fiji is divided into four administrative divisions and one dependency. Central based in Nausori, Eastern based in Levuka, Northern based in Labasa and Western based in Lautoka. The 14 provinces are governed by the FAB. The urban affairs are controlled by the city and town councils. Fiji Government has a good administrative system.
Fiji consulate is one of the offices of Fiji in foreign countries that represents the nation abroad. In many countries there are Fiji embassies while in the rest of the countries Fiji consulate is present. Fiji Consulates are present in Canberra ( Australia), New Delhi (India), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Wellington (New Zealand), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), Singapore,Taipei (Taiwan), London (UK).
The high commissioner of Fijian consulate in India is H.E. Mr Luke Rokovada. the high commissioner of the consulate of Fiji in Malaysia is H.E. Adi Samanumu Talakuli Cakobau. The Fiji consulate in Malaysia is also recognized in Thailand.
Constitution of Fiji is the supreme law of Fiji. The Constitution of the Republic of the Fiji Islands came into effect in 1997. It is the third Constituiton. This was first adopted in 1970 after independence. But was abrogated following two military coups in 1987. In 1990 a second Constitution of Fiji was adopted.
Constitution in Fiji reserve the office of Prime Minister and a built-in for indigenous Fijians in the House of Representatives. But this proved very unpopular with the Indo-Fijian community, who comprised half of the population of the country. So the government agreed to rewrite the Constitution.
Again in 1995 a three-member Constitutional Review Commission was appointed by the President. The commission included Brij Lara, an Indo-Fijian, Tomasi Vakatora, an ethnic Fijian and Sir Paul Reeves, a former Governor General of Zealand. After much consultation 697 recommendations were proposed. Each and every party joined the consultation.
The new Constitution which came into effect in 1997 endorsed most of the recommendations. The Constitution Bill was passed on 3 July 1997 by the House of Representatives. According to this rewritten Constitution the ethnic Fijians were made to give up their majority in the House of Representatives. Their monopoly on the Prime Minister's office also did not remain the same.
However their ownership of most of the lands were assured along with the protection of their rights by institutionalizing the Great Council of Chiefs. The power of electing the President remained with it. 1997 Fiji Constitution was the second National Constituiton which protect discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Elections in Fiji are of prime importance. Being a Republic Fiji has the election system which empowers the people of the country. It has got nine elections for the House of Representatives since 1970. Though there were many elections under colonial rule, only one of them was with universal suffrage.
Voting system has changed in Fiji from time to time. Election process underwent many changes according to the Constitutions. It is interesting to note that there is no general Election for the Senate. The Senators are not elected but nominated.
Fiji Election elected 12 members in 1963 for the Legislative Council. The members belonged to European, Fijian, Indian groups.
To be able to be a part of the Elections of Fiji in the colonial period people needed the following qualifications
- British Subject
- Minimum Age 21 years
- A resident of the colony
- Able to read and write in English
From 1999 onwards the House of Representatives have 71 members. 25 of them were allocated to open electors. They may belong to any race an dare elected by universal suffrage. 46 remaining sits are communal. Among these 23 are allocated to indigenous Fijians, 19 to Indo-Fijians, 1 to Rotuman Islanders an d3 to general electors. For these Elections Instant run-off voting was adopted.