Fijian general election, 1966
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The general election to the Legislative Council of Fiji in 1966 was the last to be held before independence from the United Kingdom was granted in 1970. It was not the first election to be held under colonial rule, but it marked the first time that all adult citizens were allowed to vote. Previously, the franchise had been limited to European settlers, Fijian chiefs, and wealthy Indo-Fijians. Women also voted in this election for the first time.
The main contest was between the Alliance Party, dominated by indigenous Fijians and supported by most General electors and those Indo-Fijians who were opposed to the Federation Party, and the Indo-Fijian-dominated National Federation Party (NFP). The Alliance, led by the Lauan chief, Ratu Kamisese Mara, won a landslide victory, taking 22 of the 34 directly elected seats. After the election the three independents and two nominees of the Great Council of Chiefs, also joined the Alliance to give it a total of 27 seats. The remaining 9 seats were won by the NFP, led by A. D. Patel. The NFP won all 9 Indian communal constituencies – allocated to and elected exclusively by voters registered as Indians – and no other seats. This ethnic cleavage set the pattern which persists to this day; electoral politics in Fiji remains divided more by race than by ideology.
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