Head of State of Fiji
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politics and government of
Fiji first became a unified nation in 1871, when Seru Epenisa Cakobau united what had been a patchwork of warring fiefdoms. He ceded the nation to the United Kingdom in 1874. Fiji regained its independence as a Commonwealth Realm in 1970, and, following two military coups, it became a republic in 1987.
Tui Viti (King of Fiji) (1871–1874)
Note that Cakobau had been the Vunivalu (Warlord/Paramount Chief) of Bau since 1852. He had long styled himself the Tui Viti (King of Fiji), but had not been recognized as such by other chiefs, and he exercised no direct authority outside his domain of Bau until he united the country under his leadership in 1871. His ancestors, going back as far as 1770, have often – erroneously – been listed as "Kings" of Fiji.
Colonial Governors (1874–1970)
Fiji was a British Crown Colony from 1874 to 1970. Although the British Monarch was in law represented by the Governor, in practice his or her functions were exercised in Fiji by the colonial Governor, who acted on instructions from the British government in London.
Dominion of Fiji (1970–1987)
Fiji gained independence as the Dominion of Fiji, a Commonwealth realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, on 10 October 1970. The Governor-General, representing the monarch, acted on the advice of Fijian ministers rather than the British government.
†Ousted following military coup and proclamation of Republic.
Fiji was proclaimed a republic on 7 October 1987, upon the abdication of Queen Elizabeth II following two military coups. Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka, who had masterminded the coups, formed an interim administration, exercising the powers of the presidency but without taking the title, styling himself Head of the Interim Military Government instead. On 5 December that year, the last Governor General, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, was appointed the first President. Ganilau served as President until 15 December 1993, when he died in office. He was succeeded by Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.
In the constitutional upheaval of 2000, following the forced resignation of President Mara on 29 May, Commodore Frank Bainimarama styled himself Head of the Interim Military Government (as had Rabuka in 1987), until Ratu Josefa Iloilo was appointed President on 13 July 2000. On 5 December 2006, Commodore Frank Bainimarama deposed the Fijian Government and President Iloilo and again become Head of the Interim Military Government. On 4 January 2007 Iloilo was restored to presidency, and remain President until 30 July 2009, when he retired and Brigadier-General Ratu Epeli Nailatikau become acting President. On 5 November 2009, Nailatikau was sworn in as President.
- Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka (7 October 1987 – 5 December 1987) (Head of the Interim Military Government)
- Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau (5 December 1987 – 15 December 1993)
- Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara (16 December 1993 – 29 May 2000)
- Commodore Frank Bainimarama (5 December 2006 – 4 January 2007) (Head of the Interim Military Government)
- Ratu Josefa Iloilo (4 January 2007 – 30 July 2009)
- Brigadier-General Ratu Epeli Nailatikau (30 July 2009 – Present) (acting until 5 November 2009)