1956 Fijian general election

General elections were held in Fiji in August 1956; voting took place in the Eastern constituencies between 11 and 18 August, and on 18 August in all other constituencies.[1]

Electoral systemEdit

The Legislative Council consisted of 32 members, including 16 'official' members who were civil servants, fifteen 'unofficial' members (five Europeans, five Fijians and five Indo-Fijians), and the Governor sitting as President of the Council.

For Europeans and Indo-Fijians, three of the five representatives were elected from single-member constituencies, with the other two appointed by the Governor. All five Fijian members were appointed from a list of ten candidates submitted by the Great Council of Chiefs.[2]

Voting for Europeans remained restricted to men aged 21 or over who had been born to European parents (or a European father and was able to read, speak and write English), who were British subjects and had been continuously resident in Fiji for 12 months, and who either owned at least £20 of freehold or leasehold property or had an annual income of at least £120.[2] For Indo-Fijians, eligibility was also restricted to men aged 21 or over. They had to be a British subject or from British India, have lived continuously in the Fiji for at least two years, be able to read or write in English, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Hindi, Tamil, Telegu or Urdu, and for the previous six months, have either owned property with an annual value of five years, had a net annual cash income of at least £75, or held a Government or municipal licence worth at least £5 annually.[2]

CampaignEdit

The elections were boycotted by the Muslim community in protest at not having an elected seat reserved for them. The community was instead represented by one of the two Indo-Fijian nominated members.[1] The Fiji Muslim League requested its members not to participate in the elections in any form, whilst the Muslim Association of Fiji advised Muslims not to accept nomination to the Council.[1]

All candidates were offered two slots on FBC radio.[3]

ResultsEdit

Constituency Candidate Votes % Notes
European members
Eastern Harold Brockett Gibson 281 Re-elected
Fred Archibald 169
Northern and Western Maurice Scott Unopposed Re-elected
Southern John Falvey 502 Re-elected
James Burton Turner 167
Indo-Fijian members
Eastern James Madhavan 1,041 Re-elected
Jamnadas Kanji 866
Northern and Western Ayodhya Prasad 2,718 Re-elected
K. S. Reddy 1,348
Chattur Singh 1,240
B. D. Lakshman 109
D. S. Prasad 40
Informal votes 63
Southern Vishnu Deo 1,900 Re-elected
Odin Ramrakha 1,423
Hari Charan 14
Informal votes 64
Source: Fiji Elections, Pacific Islands Monthly[4]

Nominated membersEdit

Europeans
Stanley Cowled
William Granger Johnson
Fijians
Edward Cakobau
George Cakobau
Kamisese Mara
Semesa Sikivou
Lala Sukuna
Indo-Fijians
Andrew Deoki
A. R. Manu
Source: Fiji Elections

AftermathEdit

Following the elections, Lala Sukuna was appointed as the first Speaker of the Legislative Council.[5]

A. H. Sahu Khan, leader of the Muslim Association of Fiji, replaced A. R. Manu as one of the nominated Indian members in 1957.[6] After Maurice Scott was appointed Speaker following the death of Sukuna in May 1958, a by-election was held in the European Northern and Western constituency, in which Ronald Kermode defeated Mark White by seven votes.[6][7][8][9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Muslims Won't Participate but rest of Fiji goes to polls", Pacific Islands Monthly, August 1956, p51
  2. ^ a b c 1940 Legislative Council Election Fiji Elections Archive
  3. ^ Fiji Elections: MLC's Will Use Radio Appeals To Electors Pacific Islands Monthly, May 1956, p22
  4. ^ "Few changes in New Fiji LegCo", Pacific Islands Monthly, September 1956, p38
  5. ^ "Colourful ceremonies when Fiji instals its first Speaker", Pacific Islands Monthly, October 1956, p19
  6. ^ a b 1956 Fiji Legislative Council elections Fiji Elections
  7. ^ Fiji Talanoa Pacific Islands Monthly, August 1958, p53
  8. ^ Fiji-born Mr. R. G. Kermode Pacific Islands Monthly, September 1958, p9
  9. ^ Blood and Old Fiji Legco Pacific Islands Monthly, August 1959, p143