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The President of the Republic of Fiji is the head of state of Fiji. The President is appointed by the Parliament of Fiji for a three-year term under the terms of the 2013 Constitution of Fiji.[1] Although not entirely a figurehead, the President's role in government is mostly ceremonial, but there are important reserve powers that may be exercised in the event of a crisis. In addition, the President is Commander-in-Chief of the Military Forces.

President of the
Republic of Fiji
Flag of the President of Fiji.svg
Presidential Standard
Jioji Konrote 2017.jpg
Incumbent
Jioji Konrote

since 12 November 2015
ResidenceGovernment House, Suva
AppointerParliament of Fiji
Term length3 years
Inaugural holderPenaia Ganilau
Formation5 December 1987

Contents

History of the officeEdit

The office of President was established following two military coups in 1987 that led to the proclamation of a republic on 7 October, ending the Fijian monarchy. Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka, who had masterminded the coups, formed an Interim Military Government with himself as its head. He did not, however, take the title of President, and on 5 December appointed Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, the last Governor-General, as the first President of the republic.

A civilian putsch instigated by George Speight led to another constitutional upheaval in 2000. President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara resigned on 29 May rather than abrogate the Constitution, as the military, supported by the Supreme Court, had asked. (Whether or not his resignation was forced was the subject of a police investigation that continued up to the time of the 2006 coup). Commodore Frank Bainimarama took power as Head of the Interim Military Government (as had Rabuka in 1987), until Ratu Josefa Iloilo was appointed President on 13 July.

On 5 December 2006, the military forces again overthrew the government. Bainimarama declared himself Acting President; he initially said that he had assumed the office in an interim capacity, and would soon ask the Great Council of Chiefs to reinstate Iloilo, but on 17 December he insisted that he was now the President and that the Great Council should recognise him as such.[2] Iloilo was re-instated as President on 4 January 2007.

In January 2008, Bainimarama stated that the military was "the executive authority in the appointment of the President", following the suspension of the Great Council of Chiefs. The President would be a military appointee, until a reformed GCC were installed.[3]

A few days later, Citizens Constitutional Forum director Reverend Akuila Yabaki suggested that the position of President should, in future, be open to persons of any ethnicity, rather than reserved for indigenous Fijians. This suggestion was controversial, and was notably opposed by deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. A Rewa chief, Ro Filipe Tuisawau, also opposed the idea, and stated his view on the function of the presidency:

"The position of the president symbolises unity of both traditional structures of leadership which existed before parliamentary rule was established and the current Westminster system of parliament. This is where the Western system meets our traditional vanua system and we acknowledge the indigenous leadership that has evolved and catered for all races in our multicultural society. By nominating the President the nation is acknowledging the role our chiefs have played in society and I think the Fijian people would appreciate that the status quo stay."[4]

On 28 July 2009, Iloilo announced that he would be leaving office on 30 July.[5] Brigadier-General (Rtd) Ratu Epeli Nailatikau succeeded him as acting President. On 5 November 2009, Nailatikau was sworn in as President.[6]

In March 2012, the Bainimarama government disestablished the Great Council of Chiefs by decree.[7][8] Bainimarama confirmed this meant there would need to be a new method to appoint the President; this, he said, would be provided by a new Constitution, to be adopted in 2013 following consultations with the people.[9]

On 12 October 2015, the Parliament elected Major-General (Rtd) Jioji Konrote as President.[10] On 12 November 2015, Konrote was sworn in as President.[11]

List of Presidents of Fiji (1987–present)Edit

President Took office Left office Time in office Party Election Prime Minister
Head of the Interim Military Government
Rabuka, SitiveniMajor general
Sitiveni Rabuka
(born 1948)
Acting
7 October 19875 December 198759 daysRFMF
Presidents of the Republic of Fiji
1Ganilau, PenaiaRatu Sir
Penaia Ganilau
(1918–1993)
5 December 198715 December 1993 †6 years, 10 daysIndependent1987Kamisese Mara
Sitiveni Rabuka
Mara, KamiseseRatu Sir
Kamisese Mara
(1920–2004)
Acting
16 December 199318 January 199433 daysIndependentSitiveni Rabuka
2Mara, KamiseseRatu Sir
Kamisese Mara
(1920–2004)
18 January 199429 May 20006 years, 132 daysIndependent1994Sitiveni Rabuka
Mahendra Chaudhry
Tevita Momoedonu
Head of the Interim Military Government
Bainimarama, FrankCommodore
Frank Bainimarama
(born 1954)
Acting
29 May 200013 July 200045 daysRFMFLaisenia Qarase
President of the Republic of Fiji
3Iloilo, JosefaRatu
Josefa Iloilo
(1920–2011)
13 July 20005 December 20066 years, 145 daysIndependent2000
2006
Laisenia Qarase
Tevita Momoedonu
Laisenia Qarase
Head of the Interim Military Government
Bainimarama, FrankCommodore
Frank Bainimarama
(born 1954)
Acting
5 December 20064 January 200730 daysRFMFJona Senilagakali
Presidents of the Republic of Fiji
(3)Iloilo, JosefaRatu
Josefa Iloilo
(1920–2011)
4 January 200730 July 20092 years, 207 daysIndependentFrank Bainimarama
Nailatikau, EpeliRatu Brigadier general (Rtd)
Epeli Nailatikau
(born 1941)
Acting
30 July 20095 November 200998 daysIndependentFrank Bainimarama
4Nailatikau, EpeliRatu Brigadier general (Rtd)
Epeli Nailatikau
(born 1941)
5 November 200912 November 20156 years, 7 daysIndependent2009Frank Bainimarama
5Konrote, JiojiMajor general (Rtd)
Jioji Konrote
(born 1947)
12 November 2015Incumbent3 years, 25 daysIndependent2015Frank Bainimarama

NotesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of Fiji" (PDF). 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015.
  2. ^ http://www.fijilive.com/news/show/news/2006/12/18/Fijilive13.html
  3. ^ "Voreqe: Army is executive authority", Fiji Times, 2 January 2008
  4. ^ "Keep President Fijian", Robert Matau, Fiji Times, 7 January 2008
  5. ^ President of military-led Fiji plans to step down, AP, 28 July 2009
  6. ^ Nailatikau sworn in as Fiji's new President. News.xinhuanet.com (5 November 2009). Retrieved on 4 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs abolished". Stuff. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  8. ^ "REMARKS BY THE PRIME MINISTER ON THE GREAT COUNCIL OF CHIEFS (GCC)" Archived 19 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine., government of Fiji
  9. ^ "Fiji to have a new system to elect president", FijiVillage, 14 March 2012
  10. ^ "Fiji Parliament elects new President". Radio New Zealand International. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Fiji swears in new president". Radio New Zealand International. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015.