Frank Bainimarama becomes Fiji’s first democratically elected PM after eight years of military rule.
Former military leader Frank Bainimarama has been elected as Fiji’s prime minister after his political party FijiFirst won 32 out of 50 seats in the parliament on September 22, 2014. Bainimarama, who stepped down as the military chief in May 2014, was sworn in by President Epeli Nailatikau in a ceremony at Government House in Fiji’s capital of Suva.
Bainimarama was responsible for ousting the Laisenia Qarase government in 2006, alleging corruption and bias towards indigenous Fijians. Fiji had been under military rule since, encountering its first democratic election in the past eight years.
The new PM was widely favored because of his stance against the prevailing race-based voting system in the country and has so far stabilized the nation, leading to economic growth.
However, those unhappy with the outcome include many human rights agencies that accuse him of interfering with judiciary, as well as putting strangling restrictions on media and critics through censorship and intimidation, threatening freedom of speech.
But human rights groups accuse him of placing severe restrictions on freedom of speech through media censorship and intimidation of critics, as well as interference with the judiciary.
Fiji has witnessed four coups since 1987, mainly due to tensions between indigenous Fijians and ethnic Indians that form 40 percent of the country’s population.