Leader of the Opposition (Fiji)

Summary

In Fiji, the Leader of the Opposition (or Opposition Leader) is a senior politician who commands the support of the Official Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition is, by convention, the leader of the largest political party in the Parliament of Fiji that is not in government. This is usually this is the parliamentary leader of the second-largest caucus in Parliament. It did not originate in Fiji but has a long tradition; in British constitutional theory, the Leader of the Opposition must pose a formal alternative to the government, ready to form a government himself should the Prime Minister lose the confidence of the parliament.

Leader of the Opposition of the
Republic of Fiji
Coat of arms of Fiji.svg
Coat of arms of
the Republic of Fiji
Incumbent
Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu

since 8 December 2020
Term lengthWhile leader of the largest political party in Parliament that is not in government
Inaugural holderSidiq Koya
Formation10 October 1970

Typically the leader of the Opposition is elected by his or her party according to its rules. A new leader may be elected when the incumbent dies, resigns, or is challenged for the leadership. Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu of the Social Democratic Liberal Party has been serving as the leader of the opposition since 8 December 2020.

Description of the officeEdit

The Leader of the Opposition is chosen by a vote of all members of Parliament who declare that they do not support the government. But before the adoption of the 2013 Constitution, the Leader of the Opposition was formally appointed by the President. The appointment was not at the president's personal discretion, however, as he was required by the Constitution to appoint the person most acceptable to the majority of the Opposition (defined as members of the House of Representatives who belong to political parties not represented in the Cabinet). In theory, that meant the parliamentary leader of the largest Opposition party. In practice, the person most eligible could decline the office, as was the case between 2001 and 2004, when Mahendra Chaudhry, whose Labour Party held 28 of the 30 Opposition seats in the House of Representatives, adamantly refused to accept the position of Leader of the Opposition, insisting that he and his party wanted representation in the Cabinet instead. Until he reversed his position late in 2004 (following the collapse of negotiations with Prime Minister Qarase), this forced the President to appoint Mick Beddoes, the sole parliamentary representative of the United General Party, as Leader of the Opposition.

Under the 1997 Constitution, the Leader of the Opposition chose 8 of the 32 members of the Senate, Fiji's upper house of Parliament, and had the right to be consulted about the appointment of the Chief Justice.

List of Leaders of the Opposition in Fiji (1970–present)Edit

Portrait Leader Took office Left office Time in office Party Election Prime minister(s)
 
Sidiq Koya
(1924–1993)
197019776–7 years NFP1972
1977 (Mar)
Mara
 
Jai Ram Reddy
(born 1937)
197719846–7 years NFP1977 (Sep)
1982
Mara
 
Sidiq Koya
(1924–1993)
198419872–3 years NFPMara
 
Harish Sharma
(born 1932)
198719870 years NFPMara
 
Ratu Sir
Kamisese Mara
(1920–2004)
13 April 198714 May 198731 days Alliance1987Bavadra
Vacant (14 May 1987 – 3 April 1992)
 
Jai Ram Reddy
(born 1937)
3 April 199228 August 19997 years, 147 days NFP1992
1994
Rabuka
 
Ratu
Inoke Kubuabola
(born 1948)
28 August 19993 October 20001 year, 36 days SVT1999Chaudhry
Momoedonu
Vacant (3 October 2000 – 3 July 2001)
 
Prem Singh3 July 200117 April 2002288 days NFP2001Qarase
 
Mick Beddoes17 April 200221 November 20042 years, 218 days UPPQarase
 
Mahendra Chaudhry
(born 1942)
21 November 20043 June 20061 year, 194 days LabourQarase
 
Mick Beddoes3 June 20065 December 2006185 days UPP2006Qarase
Vacant (5 December 2006 – 6 October 2014)
 
Ro
Teimumu Kepa
(born 1945)
[1][2]
6 October 201420 November 20184 years, 45 days SODELPA2014Bainimarama
 
Major general (Rtd)
Sitiveni Rabuka
(born 1948)
[3]
26 November 2018
[a]
7 December 20202 years, 11 days SODELPA2018Bainimarama
 
Ratu
Naiqama Lalabalavu
(born 1953)
8 December 2020Incumbent1 year, 208 days SODELPABainimarama

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Suspended from 26 May to 29 June 2020.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Members of Parliament". Parliament of the Republic of Fiji. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  2. ^ Fijivillage. "Sitiveni Rabuka elected as SODELPA Party Leader". www.fijivillage.com. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  3. ^ "I am ready, say Rabuka". FijiTimes. Retrieved 2 October 2020.