Fiji has held nine general elections for the House of Representatives since becoming independent of the United Kingdom in 1970; there had been numerous elections under colonial rule, but only one with universal suffrage (in 1966). In this period, Fiji has had three constitutions, and the voting system has changed accordingly. Note that there are no general elections for the Senate: The 32 Senators are nominated, not elected.
The Legislative Council elected in 1963 had 37 members. There were 12 elected members, four from each of the Fijian, Indian and European groups chosen on a communal franchise. The Governor also nominated two from each of the communities. There were to be 19 official members. The Legislative Councillors of each race were permitted to select two from their fellows to the Executive Council. Qualifications to register as a voter were as follows:
Resident in the colony for a period of, or periods amounting in the aggregate of, not less than twelve months out of the preceding three years.
Ability to read and write a simple sentence and sign one’s name in the English language in the case of a European, in either English or Fijian in the case of a Fijian, and for an Indian either in English, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Gurmukhi, Gujarati or Malayalam. "European" and "Indian" were defined as a person whose father or any of whose male progenitors in the male line was a European or Indian, respectively, while a "Fijian" was defined as "a person whose father or any of whose progenitors in the male line ... was an aboriginal native of the colony, excluding the island of Rotuma and its dependencies."
These definitions firstly disallowed an illiterate adult to vote, secondly permitted some people to choose between ethnic rolls and thirdly made no provision for Rotumans, Pacific Islanders, Chinese and Part-Chinese to vote.
The Legislative Council elected in 1966 had 36 members. 25 seats represented Communal constituencies (9 indigenous Fijians, 9 Indians, and 7 General Electors (Europeans, Chinese, and other minorities), elected on closed electoral rolls by voters registered as members of their respective ethnic groups. A further 9 members were elected from National constituencies - seats allocated ethnically (3 for each ethnic constituency) but elected by universal suffrage. The remaining 2 members were nominated by the Great Council of Chiefs.
From 1972 through 1987, the House of Representatives had 52 members. Of these, 22 were allocated to indigenous Fijians and another 22 to Indo-Fijians; a further 8 were allocated to General Electors (Europeans, Chinese, and other minorities). Of the 22 seats allocated each to indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians, 12 were elected from Communal constituencies and 10 from National constituencies. Of the 8 seats allocated to General Electors, 3 were elected from a communal roll and 5 from national constituencies. All members represented single-member constituencies, and were elected by the First past the post system. In the same period, the newly established Senate had 22 members (8 nominated by the Great Council of Chiefs (of whom any three held the power of veto over changes to the country's land laws), 7 by the Prime Minister, 6 by the Leader of the Opposition, and 1 by the Council of Rotuma).
In 1992 and 1994, the House of Representatives had 70 members. 37 seats were allocated to indigenous Fijians, 27 to Indo-Fijians, 1 to Rotuman Islanders, and 5 to General Electors. All were elected from communal rolls; that is, all members were elected only by voters registered as belonging to their own ethnic group. The First past the post system remained in effect. The Senate in this time had 34 members (24 nominated by the Great Council of Chiefs and 1 by the Council of Rotuma; a further 9 were appointed by the President to represent non-indigenous Fijians).
From 1999 onwards, the House of Representatives has had 71 members. 25 represent open electorates; these members are elected by universal suffrage and may belong to any race. The remaining 46 seats are communal, with 23 being allocated to indigenous Fijians, 19 to Indo-Fijians, 1 to Rotuman Islanders, and 3 to General Electors. Instant run-off voting was adopted for these elections. The Senate now has 32 members (14 nominated by the Great Council of Chiefs, 9 by the Prime Minister, 8 by the Leader of the Opposition, and 1 by the Council of Rotuma).
Note: The following statistics show the number of seats in the House of Representatives won by particular political parties in general elections since 1966. The Year at the top of each column links to a main article about the election held that year.