A coup-plagued state goes to the polls

September 18, 2014 5:21 PM

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A coup-plagued state goes to the polls

THE island republic of Fiji, troubled but potentially prosperous, went to the polls on September 17th in the first election since the armed forces seized power in December 2006. Early results suggest that Frank Bainimarama, who became prime minister on the back of that coup, has polled strongly, with his Fiji First Party securing perhaps 60% of the vote. Since the coup Mr Bainimarama’s supporters have written a new constitution, introduced a bewildering electoral system and marshalled the resources of incumbency to secure victory for their new party. Their main opponent was the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), which led the government that was overthrown in 2006.

Mr Bainimarama, who stood down as army commander in March, says SODELPA is a group of corrupt politicians seeking to resurrect Fiji’s baneful tradition of racial tension between the three-fifths of the population who are indigenous and the one-third who are of Indian extraction. The head of SODELPA,...

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