Electoral system of Fiji

Electoral System Of Fiji

Electoral system of Fiji

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Historical overview

Fiji's electoral system is the result of complex negotiations, compromises, and experiments conducted over the years leading up to and following independence from British colonial rule in 1970. A number of devices have been tried at various times to accommodate the reality that the primary faultline in Fijian politics is not ideological, but ethnic. The competing political interests of the indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians have defined the political landscape for a generation. There are also small communities of Europeans, Chinese, and other minorities whose economic and political influence is disproportionate to their numbers (often termed the "General" voters).

In colonial times, the British authorities established a Legislative Council with mostly advisory powers, which were gradually extended. European males were enfranchised in 1904 an allocated 7 elective seats in the Legislative Council. Fijians were represented by 2 chiefs chosen by the colonial Governor from a list of 6 nominees submitted by the Great Council of Chiefs. There was initially no representation for Indian immigrants or their descendants, but in 1917 they were granted one seat, filled by a nominee of the Governor. This seat was made elective in 1929, when wealthy Indian males were enfranchised. By 1954, Europeans, Indo-Fijians, and indigenous Fijians were allocated an equal number of seats on the Legislative Council, but the mode of election remained different:...
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