Fiji profile

President: Epeli Nailatikau

A veteran army officer, diplomat and hereditary chief, Epeli Nailatikau became president in July 2009 on the retirement of his predecessor Josefa Iloilo.

He was ousted as army chief by coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka in 1987, and joined the diplomatic corps. He turned down an opportunity to become prime minister after the 2000 coup, but served in the interim government of Laisenia Qarase.

He was elected speaker after democracy was restored in 2001, and held ministerial posts after the 2006 coup. President Iloilo appointed him vice-president in April 2009, at the same time as he suspended the constitution. Mr Nailatikau endorsed President Iloilo's decision on taking office himself a few months later.

Voreqe Bainimarama Voreqe Bainimarama has taken a keen interest in the drafting of a new Fijian constitution

Interim prime minister: Commodore Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama

Fiji's military chief Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power in the December 2006 coup and first became interim prime minister in January 2007.

He accused deposed prime minister Laisenia Qarase of corruption and of discriminating against Fiji's ethnic Indian minority.

Mr Qarase, who had secured a second term in May 2006, had angered the opposition and the military with his controversial proposal to pardon or amnesty some of those behind the 2000 nationalist coup.

Commodore Bainimarama promised to restore democracy through elections, but said the constitution would have to be revised first, as in his view it enshrined racial divisions.

He maintains that his aim is to create a fairer, multi-racial society, but he has so far excluded political opponents from discussions on the constitutional reforms.

A move by Fiji's Appeal Court in April 2009 to declare the military government illegal prompted the president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, to suspend the constitution and reappoint Commodore Bainimarama as interim prime minister for a further five years, leaving the military chief's grip on power apparently stronger than ever.

At the beginning of 2012, Commodore Bainimarama announced that he was lifting the martial law that had been in place ever since April 2009 and that consultations on a new constitution would start in February.

  • A parliamentary election has been scheduled for 17 September 2014. It represents the first opportunity for Fijians to vote since strongman Mr Bainimarama seized power in a military coup eight years previously.

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