November 20, 2018
No room for ethnic split in Fiji vote
Manurewa MP Louisa Wall says Fiji seems to be at an interesting point in its history, after a closely fought election.
Frank Bainimarama's Fiji First won a narrow victory over Sitiveni Rabuka's Sodelpa party, taking 50.02 percent of the vote.
Ms Wall, who observed polling booths in western Fiji as part of an international mission, says the voting system devised by Mr Bainimarama after his 2006 coup, was aimed at smoothing out ethnic divisions by having only one constituency with seats shared on a sort of party vote basis.
It's not favoured by Mr Rabuka, who led a coup in 1987.
"He wants to bring back the chiefs and having indigenous seats so they are in a really interesting time in their history because they have differentiations between what they call ethnic Fijians and Indo-Fijians and it's been a change in philosophy that says 'no, everyone is an equal Fijian and we won't have these distinctions,'" Ms Wall says.
She was impressed with the participation of women, who made up 57 percent of voters at the booths she observed, but only eight of the 51 MPs elected were women.
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