Wansolwara News

Vol. 5 No. 2
June 2000

Page 5

 

THE ROAD TO THE THREE COUPS SINCE FIJI'S INDEPENDENCE
By JOE YAYA

October 10, 1970: Fiji gains independence from Great Britain after 96 years as a British colony and remains a member of the British Commonwealth.

April 12, 1987: Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara’s Alliance Party is defeated in the elections by the Labour Coalition led by Dr Timoci Bavadra.

April 14: Dr Bavadra announces his cabinet of mainly Indo-fijians.

April 23: Protest marches held in Suva to petition the Governor-General for constitutional changes to ensure Fijian leadership.

April 27: Alliance Party’s leading Indian member quits because increasing numbers of Fijian party supporters “destroys” multiracial character of party.

May 10: Fijian parties invited to form a Fiji United Front to give indigenous Fijians a united voice.

May 14: Lieutenant-Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka and 10 armed men march into Parliament, overthrowing the elected Indian-dominated government of Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra.

September 22: Governor-General brings Dr Bavadra and Mara together to form an interim bipartisan government.

September 25: Rabuka’s troops stage a second coup, annulling the 1970 constitution.

October 7: Rabuka declares Fiji a republic.

October 16: Fiji membership of Commonwealth lapses.

July 25, 1990: Great Council of Chiefs appoints Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau as president for five-year term.

June 2, 1992: Rabuka sworn in as Prime Minister.

February 28, 1994: Rabuka retains prime-ministership in a snap election.

September 1996: Constitutional Review Commission recommends Fiji adopt non-racially biased constitution.

September 30, 1997: Fiji readmitted to the Commonwealth.

December 1998: Rabuka announces his ruling SVT Party has formed coalition with the Indian dominated NFP and the mixed race UGP.

May 18, 1999: Rabuka’s party defeated at the polls, making way for the People’s Coalition government. Mahendra Chaudhry sworn in as first Indo-Fijian Prime Minister after the Labour Party wins the first general elections under the 1997 constitution.

May 19, 2000: Businessman George Speight walks into parliament with armed rebels, taking hostage the Chaudhry led government in an attempted civilian coup.

May 27, 2000: President Ratu Mara suspends Parliament for six months and appoints Ratu Tevita Momoedonu as acting Prime Minister. Ratu Tevita dismisses Mahendra Chaudhry as Prime Minister of the Fiji Islands and dissolves cabinet.

May 29, 2000: President Ratu Mara steps down and hands over executive powers to interim military government, headed by army commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who invokes martial law and annuls the 1997 constitution.


File created: 3 June 2000
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