Sunday 15 September 2019

Fiji’s strongman leader set to win four more years in power

Voreqe Bainimarama has ruled the nation since a coup in 2006 but has since returned the country to democracy.

A FijiFirst poster with the image of Fiji’s prime minister (AP)
A FijiFirst poster with the image of Fiji’s prime minister (AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

The man who first seized power in a military coup then refashioned himself as a legitimate leader appears set to rule Fiji for another four years.

The country’s prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama and his FijiFirst party were headed for a convincing election win as votes were counted.

Mr Bainimarama has ruled the island nation since his 2006 coup, and won his first election in 2014 after returning democracy to the country.

With about half of the votes counted, FijiFirst was ahead with 53% while closest rival the Social Democratic Liberal Party, led by Sitiveni Rabuka, was at 37%.

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Fiji’s prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama (Richard Drew/AP)

The margin was closer than in the last election, when FijiFirst won almost 60% of the vote.

Mr Rabuka led two military coups in the 1980s before serving seven years as prime minister in the 1990s.

Just this week, a judge cleared him of an electoral disclosure violation in a case that many viewed as being politically motivated.

Heavy rainfall throughout Wednesday affected voter turnout.

The bad weather prompted officials to close more than 20 polling venues, affecting more than 7,000 voters who were promised the chance to vote at a later date.

PA Media

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