Prime Minister of Fiji
|Prime Minister of the
Republic of Fiji
Coat of arms of
the Republic of Fiji
|Appointer||President of Fiji|
|Term length||Not term limited|
|Inaugural holder||Kamisese Mara|
|Formation||10 October 1970|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Description of the office
As a former British colony, Fiji has largely adopted British political models and follows the Westminster, or Cabinet, system of government, in which the executive branch of government is responsible to the legislature. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, but must be supported, or at least accepted, by a majority in the House of Representatives. If at any time the Prime Minister loses the "confidence" of the House, he must resign, along with the entire Cabinet. In practice, this usually reduces the Prime Minister's appointment to a formality, as the parliamentary leader of the majority political party or coalition is invariably appointed. If, however, no such majority party or coalition exists, whether due to electoral fragmentation or to party realignments after an election, the President's role becomes much more important. The President must endeavour to find a candidate acceptable to a majority in the House; if no such candidate can be found, the President must dissolve Parliament and call an election prematurely.
The Prime Minister of Fiji is technically the "first among equals," whose vote in meetings of the Cabinet carries no greater weight than that of any other minister. In practice, the Prime Minister dominates the government. Other Ministers are appointed by the President, but on the Prime Minister's advice, and may be dismissed by him at any time (although his control over ministerial appointments may be tempered by the realities of coalition politics: the leader or leaders of coalition partners may insist on having a say in the matter too).
History of the office
Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara was appointed Fiji's first Prime Minister on 10 October 1970, when Fiji attained its independence from Britain. Mara previously served as Fiji's first an only Chief Minister, from 20 September 1967 (while Fiji still was a British colony). Mara's first term as Prime Minister lasted until 13 April 1987. He returned to the office for the second term on 5 December 1987, serving until 2 June 1992. As of 2014, Mara is the longest-serving Prime Minister of Fiji.
List of Prime Ministers of Fiji (1970–present)
|Term start||Term end||Political Party|
|Prime Ministers of the Dominion of Fiji|
|1||Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara
|10 October 1970||13 April 1987||Alliance Party|
|13 April 1987||14 May 1987||Fiji Labour Party|
|Vacant (14 May 1987 – 5 December 1987)[nb 1]|
|Prime Ministers of the Republic of Fiji|
|(1)||Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara
|5 December 1987||2 June 1992||Independent[nb 2]|
|2 June 1992||19 May 1999||Fijian Political Party|
|19 May 1999||27 May 2000||Fiji Labour Party|
|5||Ratu Tevita Momoedonu
|27 May 2000
|Fiji Labour Party[nb 3]|
|Vacant (27 May 2000 – 4 July 2000)[nb 1]|
|4 July 2000||14 March 2001||Independent[nb 4]|
|—||Ratu Tevita Momoedonu
Interim Prime Minister
|14 March 2001||16 March 2001||Fiji Labour Party|
|16 March 2001||5 December 2006||United Fiji Party|
|7||Dr. Jona Senilagakali
|5 December 2006||4 January 2007||Independent[nb 5]|
|5 January 2007||10 April 2009||Military|
|Vacant (10 April 2009 – 11 April 2009)[nb 6]|
|11 April 2009||31 March 2014||Military|
|(8)||Rear Admiral (Rtd)
|31 March 2014||Incumbent||FijiFirst|
- Two military coups in 1987 and a civilian coup d'état in 2000 left Fiji without a Prime Minister each time.
- Mara's party, the Alliance Party, was dissolved in the wake of the 1987 coups, so he was effectively a non-party Prime Minister in his last term.
- Ratu Momoedonu was appointed Prime Minister on 27 May 2000, by the then-President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, in order to meet a constitutional technicality. He resigned only a few minutes later, as soon as the technicality had been attended to, in order to allow the President to assume full executive power.
- Qarase was not a member of a political party when he headed the interim government in 2000 and early 2001. Following his reinstatement on 16 March 2001 (after two days' absence from office), he founded the United Fiji Party to contest the general election that was to be held later that year.
- Senilagakali was installed as Interim Prime Minister as Commodore Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama took control of the Government. He was previously a highly esteemed medical doctor, the former President of the Fijian Medical Association, and was military doctor at the time of the coup d'état in 2006.
- The Bainimarama government was dismissed as illegal by Fiji's Court of Appeal, leading to the Prime Minister's immediate resignation. He was re-appointed the next day by President Josefa Iloilo, following the latter's abrogation of the Constitution.
- "Military now in charge in Fiji". Fiji Times. 5 December 2006.
- "Fiji's Bainimarama steps down as PM", Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10 April 2009
- "Commodore Bainimarama sworn in as Prime Minister", Fiji government, 11 April 2009