1999 Fijian general election

General elections were held in Fiji between 8 and 15 May 1999.[1] They were the first election held under the revised Constitution of 1997, which instituted a new electoral system and resulted in Mahendra Chaudhry taking office as Fiji's first Indo-Fijian Prime Minister, following a landslide victory for the Fiji Labour Party. It was also a wipeout loss for the incumbent Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT) government of Sitiveni Rabuka, which lost all but eight seats and won less seats than the Fijian Association Party (FAP).

1999 Fijian general election

← 1994 8–15 May 1999 2001 →

All 71 seats in the House of Representatives
36 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Mahendra Chaudhry Kuini Speed Sitiveni Rabuka
Party Labour FAP SVT
Last election 7 seats 5 seats 31 seats
Seats won 37 10 8
Seat change Increase 30 Increase 5 Decrease 23

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Sairusi Nagagavoka Josaia Rayawa Iliesa Duvuloco
Last election
Seats won 4 3 2
Seat change New New New

Prime Minister before election

Sitiveni Rabuka

Elected Prime Minister

Mahendra Chaudhry

Opinion polls Edit

Pollster(s) Date Sample size Rabuka Chaudhry
Satisfied Dissatisfied Satisfied Dissatisfied
The Fiji Times[2] 1996 23%

Results Edit

Mahendra Chaudhry's Fiji Labour Party won all 19 Indo-Fijian seats, annihilating the National Federation Party which had traditionally been Fiji's dominant Indo-Fijian party; Indo-Fijian voters were angered by the NFP's decision to enter into an electoral coalition agreement with the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei of Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, whom they had not forgiven for leading the military coup that removed an Indo-Fijian dominated government from power in 1987. In addition to the 19 Indo-Fijian seats, the Labour Party won 18 of the 25 "open electorates" for a total of 37 - an absolute majority in the 71-member House. The Fijian Association Party, led by Adi Kuini Speed (the widow of former Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra), won 11 seats (10 ethnic Fijian and 1 open) against only 8 seats (5 ethnic Fijian and 3 open) for the Fijian Political Party, which had ruled the country since 1992. The Christian Democratic Alliance won 3 seats (2 ethnic Fijian and one open), while Apisai Tora's Party of National Unity won four ethnic Fijian seats. The United General Party won one "general" and one open electorate. The remaining six seats (two ethnic Fijian, two "general electorates," one Rotuman, and one open) were won by minor parties and independents.

PartyOpen constituenciesCommunal constituenciesTotal
Fiji Labour Party119,77933.2618112,16731.141937
Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei75,06320.85368,11418.9158
National Federation Party51,87014.40053,11514.7500
Fijian Association Party38,86310.79134,0449.45910
Christian Democratic Alliance35,3959.83034,7589.6533
Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo Party15,2344.23116,3534.5412
Party of National Unity11,6723.24017,3024.8044
United General Party4,7321.3115,4121.5012
United National Labour Party1,9850.5501,9780.5500
Natural Law Party1090.0300
Coalition of Independent Nationals650.0202,3400.6500
Lio 'On Famör Rotuma Party1,9820.5500
Party of the Truth2340.0600
Farmers and General Workers Coalition Party1970.0500
Viti Levu Dynamic Multiracial Democratic Party1240.0300
Nationalist Democratic Party130.0000
Valid votes360,09090.76360,19290.26
Invalid/blank votes36,6399.2438,8799.74
Total votes396,729100.00399,071100.00
Registered voters/turnout434,65891.27431,56692.47
Source: Nohlen et al.

Aftermath Edit

Many ethnic Fijians were unwilling to accept the result of the election, which was partly because their own votes had been so fragmented while those of Indo-Fijians had been much more united. President and "father of the nation" Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara worked behind the scenes, however, to persuade the main ethnic Fijian parties in parliament to accept Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry as Prime Minister. To appease ethnic Fijians, Chaudhry gave 11 of the 18 Cabinet posts to native Fijian politicians. Following the power-sharing provisions of the Constitution, the Cabinet was composed of members of numerous political parties.

Not all ethnic Fijians were appeased, however. Simmering resentment exploded on 19 May 2000, when George Speight stormed the parliament buildings and kidnapped most members of the government, including Chaudhry in a coup.

References Edit

  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume II, p653 ISBN 0-19-924959-8
  2. ^ "Historical popularity poll data released-Sydney". researchsociety.com.au. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2023.

External links Edit