From Election to Coup in Fiji

From Election to Coup in Fiji

The 2006 campaign and its aftermath

Edited by: Jon Fraenkel, Stewart Firth orcid
Download/view free formats
PDF (3.2MB)PDF chapters


In May 2006 Fiji held its tenth general election since independence in 1970. In a country with an unenviable history of electoral trauma, the mood was apprehensive if not tense – not least because of controversial public statements against the incumbent Qarase government being made by the commander of Fiji’s military forces.

Despite a record number of parties and candidates, the winners were the two big parties – the heavily church-backed SDL, the party of choice of the majority of indigenous Fijians; and the Fiji Labour Party, the party preferred by most Indo-Fijians.

Although the result was ethnically polarised, for the first time in Fijian history the successful candidates came together to share power in a constitutionally ordained multiparty cabinet, with Laisenia Qarase retaining the prime ministership. But the fragile collaboration was short-lived. On 5 December 2006, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama ordered a military takeover, declaring himself ‘President’, ousting the elected government and replacing it with an ‘interim’ government of his choice, and once again throwing Fiji into political turmoil.

With contributions from ex-Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, ousted Prime Minister Laesenia Qarase, leader of the Fiji Labour Party and now interim Minister for Finance Mahendra Chaudhry, and an impressive array of leading commentators on Fijian affairs, this book provides a comprehensive and penetrating analysis of the lead-up to, the outcome and the aftermath of Fiji’s historic 2006 election. Shedding light on the complex weave of traditional chiefly systems, race relations, economics, constitutionality, the military ethos and religion, From Election to Coup in Fiji is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Fiji, the South Pacific and the politics of divided societies.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Jun 2007
ANU Press
Asia Pacific Press
Arts & Humanities: Cultural Studies; Social Sciences: Politics & International Studies, Social Policy & Administration

PDF Chapters

From Election to Coup in Fiji »

Please read Conditions of use before downloading the formats.


  1. Changing calculus and shifting visions (PDF, 126KB)

The campaign

  1. Chance (PDF, 147KB)hai: from the campaign trail
  2. The pre-election ‘cold war’: the role of the Fiji military during the 2006 election (PDF, 155KB)
  3. Songs in sheds: some thoughts on the sociology of Fiji elections (PDF, 110KB)
  4. Election observation missions to the 2006 Fiji election (PDF, 131KB)

The major parties

  1. The cycles of party politics (PDF, 142KB)
  2. Defending the inheritance: The SDL and the 2006 election (PDF, 124KB)
  3. The strategic impasse: Mahendra Chaudhry and the Fiji Labour Party (PDF, 142KB)
  4. The failure of the moderates (PDF, 83KB)


  1. The impact of the Promotion of Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill on the 2006 election (PDF, 234KB)
  2. Reflections on the economic and social policies of political parties at the 2006 election (PDF, 175KB)
  3. Broken promises: women and the 2006 Fiji election (PDF, 136KB)
  4. The media and the spectre of the 2000 coup (PDF, 136KB)

Case studies

  1. From marginalization to mainstream? Rotuma and the 2006 election (PDF, 237KB)
  2. Tailevu North: five years down the line (PDF, 531KB)
  3. Bose ni Vanua and democratic politics in Rewa (PDF, 322KB)
  4. Whatever happened to Western separatism? (PDF, 484KB)
  5. The ‘Generals’ – where to now? (PDF, 109KB)


  1. Elections and nation-building: the long road since 1970 (PDF, 125KB)
  2. Indigenous title disputes: what they meant for the 2006 election (PDF, 124KB)
  3. Bipolar realignment under the alternative vote system: an analysis of the 2006 electoral data (PDF, 187KB)
  4. Fiji’s electoral boundaries and malapportionment (PDF, 121KB)
  5. The role of the Assembly of Christian Churches in Fiji in the 2006 election (PDF, 155KB)
  6. The role of Hindu and Muslim organizations during the 2006 election (PDF, 171KB)


  1. Fiji’s system of elections and government: where to from here? (PDF, 129KB)
  2. Tainted elections (PDF, 152KB)
  3. A view from the Electoral Commission (PDF, 56KB)
  4. Multiparty cabinet and power-sharing: lessons from elsewhere (PDF, 148KB)
  5. Women and minority interests in Fiji’s alternative vote electoral system (PDF, 111KB)
  6. The case for reform of the electoral system in Fiji (PDF, 129KB)
  7. An election retrospective (PDF, 60KB)


Other publications that may interest you