Fiji's Military Regime passed Nation's Fourth Constitution

Sep 24, 2013 15:10 IST

Fiji's military regime passed a new constitution on 6 September 2013 so that free elections could be held in 2014.The new constitution lays out the framework for a democracy, including a Parliament consisting of 50 representatives elected every four years on the basis of one person, one vote. The military regime had seized power in a 2006 coup.

It's Fiji’s fourth constitution since 1970. It was signed by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and took effect on 7 September 2013.

The new constitution enshrines principles including an independent judiciary, a secular state, and a range of civil, political, and socio-economic rights. He said it provides a blueprint for the country to move forward.

Neighbouring countries including New Zealand and Australia welcomed the new constitution stating that it was a significant development and important step toward Fiji holding elections next year.

However, the critiques and the opposition opine that the constitution also curtails freedoms and is self-serving to the regime. The constitution allows for some freedoms to be suspended when leaders perceive a threat to public safety, order or morality which can allow rulers to repress opponents.

Fiji is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean about 1100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand's North Island.

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