Talk:Prime Minister of Fiji
|WikiProject Biography / Politics and Government||(Rated Start-class)|
|WikiProject Fiji||(Rated Start-class, High-importance)|
Hi, Wik. Can you give me a source for this? My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that Nailatikau was appointed Prime Minister by the interim military government of General Frank Bainimarama, and that he exercised the functions of the premiership during the brief period of military rule. I am trying to find a source to resolve the matter one way or the other. My own understanding is that it is true that he was not constitutionally appointed, but then, there was no constitutional government in place anyway. Yes, his nomination was withdrawn - but I thought that was after Ratu Josefa Iloilo had been duly appointed by the Great Council of Chiefs to replace General Bainimarama.
Anyway, unless and until I can find an authoritative source to confirm my theory, I will let your edit stand, Wik. If I do find such a source, I will identify it in a footnote. Davidcannon 20:14, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)
- "Fiji's military rulers had nominated Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, the son-in-law of President Ratu Mara - who stepped down to make way for the military takeover - and the husband of one of the hostages. But the nomination was withdrawn following objections from Mr Speight."  --Wik 23:08, Feb 17, 2004 (UTC)
- Thanks to both of you, Wik and Morwen. I was mistaken. Davidcannon 23:52, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)
What does "Ratu" mean? If it means "chief", shouldn't all prime ministers be Ratus, or is it a title conferred regardless of politics? -- Itai 11:22, 22 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Fijian Prime Ministers - RATU Title
Hi Itai! Just a brief reply to your question. RATU is a hereditary title in Fiji, much like "Duke" or "Earl" in England. Fiji has 52 chiefly families. Only one member of the family may hold the official chiefly office at a time, but all other members of the family are still given the title of Ratu (if male) or Adi (if female). Fiji's constitution follows British models, and therefore incorporates the nobility into the modern political structure. The Great Council of Chiefs elects the (mostly honorary) President and 14 of the 32 Senators. UNLIKE the British model, however, Fiji does not make a strict separation between the nobility and the commoners in the political structure. In Britain, for example, the inheritor of a Peerage is disqualified from membership of the House of Commons, but Fiji makes no such distinction. Many Ratus have sat, and continue to sit, as democratically elected members of the House of Representatives, alongside commoners.
Now, to answer your question: No, not every Prime Minister of Fiji is a Ratu. Mara was; he held three chiefly titles as King of Lakeba and Paramount Chief of Nayau and Lau. (He was also a descendant, on his mother's side, of Tongan royalty). The present Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, is a self-made man, a "commoner," and does not have the Ratu title.
In a nutshell: The title Ratu denotes hereditary rank. The chiefs have guaranteed representation in the Senate; the 52 chiefs elect 14 of their own to represent them in the Senate. A further 9 senators are appointed by the Prime Minister, 8 by the Leader of the Opposition, and 1 by the Rotuman Islands Council; these Senators may, or may not, be Ratus themselves. (The Senate is a reflection of the British House of Lords, which consists of both hereditary nobles and "life peers" who elect from among themselves 75 Lords with voting rights). The House of Representatives is elected by universal suffrage; its members may, or may not, be Ratus. In the years immediately following independence, almost all of the ethnic Fijian representatives were, in fact, of the chiefly class, but that proportion has diminished in recent years; less than half of the current House is of the nobility.
So no, Mara was a Ratu by virtue of his royal ancestry and chiefly titles, not by virtue of his holding the offices of Prime Minister and (later) President. Momoedonu was also a Ratu. Rabuka and Qarase are not.
I'm sorry my reply is a ramble. I've had a particularly exhausting day and I'm not thinking very clearly. I ought to be sleeping, but you know what Wikiholism does ...
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