September 1977 Fijian general election

Summary

Early general elections were held in Fiji between 17 and 24 September 1977.[1] They followed elections in March which resulted in a hung parliament and no party able to gain a majority. The new election resulted in a landslide win for the Alliance Party (Fiji) led by Prime Minister Kamisese Mara, which won 36 seats out of 52. It was aided by a split in the main opposition, the National Federation Party (NFP) and a decline in support for the Fijian Nationalist Party.

BackgroundEdit

The March elections had seen the NFP win 26 seats, the Alliance 24, the Fijian Nationalist Party one and an independent one.

With divisions apparent in the NFP, Governor-General George Cakobau asked Alliance Party leader and incumbent Prime Minister Kamisese Mara to form a government, claiming that Mara was able to command a majority. However, in June the Alliance Party attempted to pass a motion of confidence in the government but lost as the sole Fijian Nationalist Party MP voted against. At the end of June Cakobau dissolved parliament, resulting in fresh elections being held.

Prior to the elections, the NFP openly split in two, with the faction of leader Sidiq Koya and a rival NFP group running against each other in 24 seats. Koya's faction was symbolised by a dove, with the rival faction using a hibiscus flower[2]

In August Fijian Nationalist Party leader Sakeasi Butadroka was given a six month jail sentence for inciting racial hatred.[2]

ResultsEdit

Koya lost his seat to a rival NFP candidate Jai Ram Reddy.[2] Sole independent MP Osea Gavidi was narrowly re-elected, with five Alliance MPs being elected unopposed.[2]

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Alliance Party 378,349 52.2 36 +12
National Federation Party–Flower 171,508 23.7 12 –11
National Federation Party–Dove 149,305 20.6 3
Fijian Nationalist Party 18,854 2.6 0 –1
Independents 6,228 0.9 1 0
Invalid/blank votes 51,713
Total 775,957 100 52 0
Total ballots cast 201,245
Registered voters/turnout 287,081 73.8
Source: Nohlen et al.

AftermathEdit

Following the elections, Mara appointed a twelve-member cabinet.[2] Jai Ram Reddy became Leader of the Opposition.[3]

Position Minister
Prime Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Kamisese Mara
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Fijian Affairs and Rural Development
Penaia Ganilau
Attorney General Vijay R. Singh
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Charles Walker
Minister of Commerce, Industry and Co-operatives Mohammed Ramzan
Minister of Education and Sport Semesa Sikivou
Minister of Finance Charles Stinson
Minister of Health Ted Beddoes
Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Immigration David Toganivalu
Minister of Tourism, Transport and Civil Aviation Tomasi Vakatora
Minister of Urban Development and Housing Jonati Mavoa
Minister of Works and Communications James Shankar Singh
Minister of State for Co-operatives Livai Nasilivata
Minister of State for Forests Josaia Tavaiqia
Minister of State for Information William Toganivalu
Minister of State for Lands and Mineral Resources Militoni Leweniqila
Minister of State for Home Affairs Solomone Momoivalu
Minister of State for Youth and Sport Vivekanand Sharma

Bill Clark later became Minister of Lands and Minerals and Sakiasi Waqanivavalagi became Minister of Youth and Sport.

In a cabinet reshuffle in January 1981, Clark became Minister of Energy, David Toganivalu became Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mohammed Ramzan became Minister of Health, Tomasi Vakatora became Minister of Labour, Industry Relations and Immigration, Ted Beddoes became Minister of Tourism, transport and Civil Aviation and Waqanivavalagi added Lands and Mineral Resources to his Youth and Sport portfolio.[4]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Nohlen, D, Grotz, F & Hartmann, C (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume II, p653 ISBN 0-19-924959-8
  2. ^ a b c d e Overwhelming win for Alliance in Fiji general election Pacific Islands Monthly, November 1977, pp19–20
  3. ^ Fiji breathes a sigh of relief after poll Pacific Islands Monthly, December 1977, p10
  4. ^ Fiji minitry is changed Pacific Islands Monthly, February 1981, pp31–32