By Anish Chand
Former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has said he will continue from where he left off in 1997 to ensure a constitution like the one his government enacted in 1997.
In a speech at University of Fiji's School of Law on Tuesday this week, the SODELPA Leader said he remained confident and hopeful that “our country will return to genuine democracy and constitutional legality and legitimacy."
He also outlined what his vision was for Fiji.
“In the event SODELPA, the party that I have been entrusted to lead, wins the majority number of seats in parliament in the 2018 general elections, I shall resume the work that Hon Jai Ram Reddy and I started in the 1997 constitution. And this is to develop in full consultation with the people of Fiji, and with an all-parties consensus decision in parliament for a review of the 2013 Fiji constitution,” he said.
"The purpose of such a review will be ensure that the constitution genuinely reflects the wishes and the aspirations of “We the people of Fiji.”
He also elaborated why he was opposed to the usage of “Fijian” as the common name.
“For an indigenous iTaukei, to be called a “Fijian” means much more than being a citizen of Fiji. It means being registered in the iVola ni Kawa Bula (VKB) (Fijian registry) as a member of a customary landowning mataqali (clan). It is for this reason, that it has been very hard for many iTaukei to understand the Bainimarama regime’s rationale for unilaterally appropriating the name “Fijian” for use as the common name of all Fiji citizens,” he said.
THE burning question from April 2018 to October 2018 will be: when will Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama dissolve parliament to pave the way for the 2018 general election?
According to Fiji’s 2013 constitution, parliament can be dissolved anytime between 3 years 6 months of the last parliament sitting to the day the first time parliament sat 4 years ago.
After the 2014 elections, parliament sat for the first time on 6 October 2014, which gives a window of 6 April 2018 to 6 October 2018, between which time the PM can dissolve parliament.
If it is dissolved on 6 April and writ of elections issued on the same day, general election will be held 44 days later. Nominations are to be filed within 14 days after the writ and elections to be held after 30 days.
Likewise, if parliament is dissolved on 6 October, add 44 days after that for Fijians to go the polls.
No doubt the 2018 elections will be the mother of all elections.
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HOW can one predict the result for next month’s general elections in Samoa, now? Smartphones, that’s how. Similar to other island states, Samoa has embraced mobile phones with almost alarming ease.
Blank pageYet clicking on the Tautua Samoa Party website reveals a white page, blank except for admin folders, but no visible content. In a country where nearly everyone has a mobile, and significant percentages check Facebook, the opposition’s social networking skills also seem dismal, with just ten people liking the latest post at time of writing – a photo from their sixth birthday, in December.
A few likes, but no comments. Old school The opposition Tautua party has instead gone the opposite direction, apparently dumping the website in favour of an oldschool newspaper. With tens of thousands of social network users in Samoa, that approach and the lack of response does not bode well for notions of political regime change any time soon. In fact, many are predicting the elections are over before they’ve even begun. “Tui will get it again”, is the common wisdom heard around town, and islands. Will he?