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politicus
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« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2014, 03:11:52 pm »
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In what is going to be the last poll (because of legal restrictions) Ratu Frankie and Fiji First keeps a clear lead, but less solid than previously.

Bainimarama's popularity has decreased to 49% compared to 60% last month.

When asked who they preferred to see as Prime Minister if there was an election held tomorrow, 49% of the 1137 survey respondents in Suva, Nasinu, Lami, Nausori, Nadi, Lautoka and Ba chose Bainimarama as their first choice. While 20% chose SODELPA leader Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa. Up from 17% last month.

NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad and PDP leader Felix Anthony got 2% each, the leaders of FLP and One Fiji got 1% each. An (unnamed in Fiji Times) independent candidate received 1% support.

15% were unsure, while 7% refused to provide an answer (= voting for the opposition, probably mostly SODELPA).

Bainimarama still holds a plurality among both genders and all age groups. He got 66% of Fijians of Indian descent and 54% of "other ethnicities" and 35% among iTaukei (indigenous Fijians).

Ro Teimumu Kepa got 37% among iTaukei and - predictably - less than 1% among Indo-Fijians. She is supported by 14% from "other ethnicities".

Out of the 1137 polled 45% would vote for Fiji First and 21% SODELPA. Unfortunately Fiji Times doesn't give the numbers for the smaller parties. But since Bainimarama has said he wont enter any coalition a 45% result might be problematic for him if enough of the small parties pass the 5% threshold.


The top five most pressing issues according to respondents:

1. Cost of living
2. Unemployment
3. Education issues - including lack of scholarships and many dropouts
4. Low wages
5. Poverty



« Last Edit: September 09, 2014, 03:18:41 pm by politicus »Logged

politicus
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« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2014, 11:57:24 am »
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Today the Fiji government announced they had secured the release of the captured soldiers with no strings attached  "within a couple of days" only to backtrack, when the news hit the international media!

Meanwhile NFP leader Biman Prasad denies accusations from FLP that he has made a deal to merge his party with Fiji First after the election or enter a coalition with them, instad accusing FLP of wanting to enter a coalition with SODELPA. So things are as unfriendly as usual between the two Indian parties.
NFP would - however - seem to be the natural choice if Fiji First needs a coalition partner. SODELPA and FLP are out of the question, as there is too much bad blood between them and FF. PDP is too left wing and are serious about human rights and it seems One Fiji is a genuinely pro-democratic party despite its pro-business profile (most of the business community in Fiji doesn't normally care about democracy or human rights).

A break-in at One Fiji's party HQ where confidential material was stolen (but no valuables) are investigated by the police (but probably not very efficiently, as odds are the thiefs are regime supporters).

Former coup maker George Speights is rumoured to be hospitalized as a result of a severe beating by army soldiers after saying that Frank Bainimarama will soon join him in Naboro Maximum  Security Prison.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 11:58:56 am by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2014, 02:26:48 pm »
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A radio and TV-debate between SODELPA leader Ro Teimumu Kepa and Frank Bainimarama is taking place tonight on FBCs i-taukei language radio Fiji ONE station followed by a live TV appearance. She has been relentless in her pressure to get the debate and its going to be the only tim Bainimarama is challenged directly (so no English or Fiji Hindi debates).
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« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2014, 10:31:19 am »
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Video of the captured soldiers released and their commander Captain Rabuka is saying they will be freed soon in the end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH0zOZDdY9Y#t=45


The kidnappers in the video are rather pale, so they might be European (or American?) Salafists (all though Syrians are often quite light skinned and their Arabic sounds "native"). If anyone speaks Arabic (Kal?) it would be interesting to hear if there is a foreign accent of sorts.

Bainimarama and Chief Keko will meet on the popular Straight Talk tv-show on Sunday, so there will be a debate in English.

I cant find any info on who won the first debate.

« Last Edit: September 11, 2014, 11:39:39 am by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2014, 10:15:49 pm »
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Soldiers released. The government of course tries to get the glory. Bainimarama says:

"I know all Fijians join me in feeling a great sense of relief and joy, as well as a deep appreciation for all those who had a hand in securing their safe release, including the skilled group of UN negotiators and our superb team in New York and Suva, who worked constantly behind the scenes to produce this outcome. As a nation, we thank you."

Given the incompetence shown by the government and army brass this is a bit much, but with timid media the question is how many voters will know.

Anyway, good news for the government obviously. A continuation of the hostage situation might have seen FF drop below 40%.
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« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2014, 05:25:09 pm »
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See the debate between Chief Kepa and Frank Bainimarama here. I would say she won, but she was also much too defensive when asked about specific policies.
http://www.coupfourandahalf.com/

It marks the end of the campaign. From 7AM Fiji time and onwards all campaigning is forbidden and voters are expected to make up their mind in peace before election day (Wednesday).  
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 05:29:00 pm by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2014, 04:23:01 am »
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The blackout from politics in the last days is rather extreme. All parties must take down their websites, de-activate their facebook profiles and take down posters and remove campaign signs. In addition to the media and politicians ordinary citizens are also not allowed to make political propaganda (=talk about politics) and the police has sent out special teams to the northern and western provinces to enforce this. Both Fiji First, SODELPA, FLP and PDP have been reported for breaking the blackout in various ways.

On Tuesday the army will parade around Suva in a Force March with guns on display to secure against irregularities. Chief Kepa has praised army Commander Moses Tikoitoga (who is also head of the entire military) as a man of integrity in the debate and said "you are a great Commander". Since Frank Bainimarama has declared an interest in "getting back in uniform", there is likely some form of power struggle in the military, since Moses  Tikoitoga has apparently declined to step down as Commander of the armed forces.  Chief Kepa also said that Frank Bainimarama will get his "just dessert" when immunity is lifted for coupsters. So she has been rather outspoken.

Maybe Al's prediction about another coup will hold true after all (I still doubt it. Frank B. has build up strong support). But you never know, Fijian nationalists/SODELPA supporters in the army might want to get rid of Frank Bainimarama if he wins the election. If Moses T. supports them, it might work.

Also, Frank B. got furious and tried to slap New Zealand TV-journalist Amanda Gillies a couple of days ago when she asked him if he could promise there wouldn't by another coup.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 05:47:22 am by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2014, 09:43:29 am »
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The FijiLeaks opposition blog has this poll based on a secret panel put together by former journalists at Fiji Sun (people who worked at it before it was taken over by government cronies). No idea if they are using anything close to a valid methodology, but if it anywhere near accurate its a disaster for the government.

SODELPA 30

Fiji First 7

NFP 6

FLP 6

PDP 1

After a bad debate performance, and the incident where Bainimarama slapped a female NZ reporter his numbers seems to be dropping, but I cant believe its by that much.

According to FijiLeaks it is Fiji Firsts support among women, young people and the business community that has been dropping - this seems at least to be compatible with other sources.

Lots of rumours that the government will rig the election.

Notice that the election starts 8.30PM Tuesday GMT/3.30PM EST (=7.30AM Wednesday Fiji time). The polls close at 6PM Fiji time, so its 7AM GMT/2AM EST tomorrow. Its a bit unclear when we will have a prognosis, but likely around noon GMT.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2014, 04:38:23 pm by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #33 on: September 17, 2014, 06:56:28 am »
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With 190 of 2025 polling stations counted only Fiji First and SODELPA are above the threshold and FF has a solid lead. Cant find any info about what areas they have counted, so impossible to estimate how much this may change, but probably quite a bit.

Fiji First 51,3%
SODELPA 38,2%
NFP 4,7%
PDP 2,5%
FLP 2,0%
One Fiji 0,9%
FUFP 0,1%
Independents 0,2%

http://fijisun.com.fj/2014/09/17/provisional-result-party-percentage/

EDIT: It looks like they have stopped counting and gone home for the night (its 2.30 in Fiji) and will resume counting tomorrow. Hopefully the votes wont get tampered with during the night.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 09:31:33 am by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #34 on: September 17, 2014, 02:40:27 pm »
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With 1244 of 2025 polling stations counted Fiji First has a majority of 60% (which might indicate fraud - it is just a bit too high). SODELPA and NFP are also above the threshold.

Fiji First 60,2%
SODELPA 26,7%
NFP 5,7%
PDP 3,5%
FLP 2,4%
One Fiji 1,1%
FUFP 0,2%
Independents 0,2%

387,400 valid votes are counted and there are roughly 590,000 registered voters.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 03:22:53 pm by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #35 on: September 18, 2014, 02:52:31 am »
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The multinational observer group approves of the election process. Maybe they should have waited until the votes where counted...  (even if its the process they are judging, awaiting the final result would be a nice touch in a place like Fiji Sad  )

http://fijilive.com/news/2014/09/fiji-election-credible-observers/59032.Fijilive

The opposition talks about unsupervised containers with ballot papers on parking lots and docks + a turnout of 97% so far in an election where free busing by parties where not allowed - much higher than in earlier elections with free bussing.
It will be interesting what the final turnout will be. No doubt there has been a huge interest among voters, but it should not exceed 90% with all the logistical difficulties people face. But if the FF people are smart, turnout will likely drop to a more credible level in the end.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 04:42:35 am by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #36 on: September 18, 2014, 03:11:38 am »
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A united opposition declares they wont accept the results and that the vote count should be stopped and errors corrected.

http://fijilive.com/news/2014/09/we-wont-accept-results-parties-say/59033/

EDIT: In the end the small FUFP chose not to be a part of the complaint, so its lodged by 5 out of 6 opposition parties.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 06:12:27 am by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #37 on: September 18, 2014, 08:09:29 am »
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Just to clarify: The problem with the international observers declaring the election process to "broadly reflect the will of the Fijian people" - as they put it - is, that it doesn't matter if the counting was done in an orderly and correct manner, if the ballot boxes where stuffed, which they likely were, at least to some degree. Also it is far from clear, that all counting was done properly.

All vote counting suspended for the night, but to resumed tomorrow. Almost 398.000 votes counted,  but very little change - Wikipedia has the current numbers, if anybody is interested.

Opposition complaints:

- Ballot boxes tampered with.

- Removal of ballot boxes from polling stations without being counted.

- Ballot papers removed from some polling stations without being counted.

- Inclusion of large sized files and envelopes in ballot boxes as they cannot fit the slots of the ballot boxes, so the boxes needed to be opened before the counting.

Given the high number of votes it would of course mean massive stuffing if some votes were removed uncounted.

« Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 08:18:37 am by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #38 on: September 18, 2014, 04:20:06 pm »
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Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem (cousin of Fiji First no. 2 Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum!) says the final result will be announced later today (its 9AM+ in the morning in Fiji now) and that there will be no more provisional results published. There haven't been any release of provisional result since mid-morning yesterday, this "inexplicable" delay seems dodgy in itself.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 04:20:42 am by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #39 on: September 19, 2014, 06:20:38 am »
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Its getting late again in the South Pacific and while turnout results from obscure village halls on faraway islands keep coming in we may have to wait until tomorrow for the final result.

Even if there likely was massive fraud SODELPA also ran a bad campaign, as exiled Indo-Fijian journalist and corruption fighter Victor Lal puts it after learning his own brother voted for his persecutors in Fiji First:

"All my warnings to SODELPA campaign apparatchiks and top leadership came true: PLEASE stop parroting on chiefs, church, GCC, qoliqoli, and land and indigenous rights. A vast majority of commoner urban and progressive Fijians, especially native Fijian youth voters, are not interested in these issues. And worst, it will frighten the hell out of voters - native Fijians, Indo-Fijians and Others - will conclude that a vote for Sodelpa on these issues will translate to a vote for another COUP."

#GCC is the abolished Great Council of Chiefs
# qoliqoli areas are beach, lagoon and reef, which were tranferred to indigenous land owners from the state in 2006

« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 06:39:38 am by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #40 on: September 19, 2014, 05:11:12 pm »
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The Election Commission has declared the election to be free and fair despite the complaints - no surprise there of course.

They are finished counting the personal votes in roughly half the precincts and there are a few surprises.

The final results are said to be published Sunday or at the very latest Monday.

The Commonwealth General Secretary Kamalesh Sharma has also approved the election and commended the Fijian government for is administration and organization of it, so it looks like their suspension is going to be revoked.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 05:43:58 pm by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #41 on: September 20, 2014, 04:37:46 pm »
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SODELPA has withdrawn their representatives from the vote counting because their claims are being ignored, while NFP has chosen to remain.

Based on the 73 per cent of the votes already counted, FFP has won 33 seats out of the 50-seat parliament, with SODELPA only receiving 14 seats, and National Federation Party (NFP) with just three seats.

In a commentary in Fiji Time Professor Warden Narsey tries to explain why Fiji First won (which they undoubtedly did, even if it was likely with a far smaller margin than the official numbers show).

"The result is astonishing to the opposition voices who have been highlighting the many negative aspects in the eight-year record of the Bainimarama Government: it started with a coup, it issued numerous decrees reducing the basic human rights of people in freedom of speech, muzzled the freedom of media, freedom of assembly, the right to go to court for perceived grievances, abolished Fijian institutions recognised by the 1997 Constitution, refused to release the Auditor General Reports, unilaterally reduced pensions, broke many environmental laws, stifled wage increases by the Wages Councils, etc."

He then goes on to explain why most voters didnt really care about this.

1. The abject failure of the educated leaders of both Fijians and Indo-Fijians to enlighten the less educated voters about the governments transgressions and why they matter.

2. "Bread and butter" issues had a most powerful impact on the poorer voters (who comprise the majority of all voters of all ethnic groups).

3. Emotional and physical security were important to Indo-Fijian voters, afraid of Fijian ethno-nationalism and SODELPA's campaign strategy.

4. The rich were in total support of FFP in many concrete ways, not the least through their influence on the media and the financing of the FFP election campaigns.

Regarding the ethnic components of FFP support he estimates that FijiFirst received more than 85% of Indo-Fijian votes, even more than FLP had in 2006.

5. "Bainimarama Government's repetition of the mantra, that under them, "all races are equal in Fiji".

6. Freeing up of scholarships and loans for education, which Indo-Fijians value very highly, and in which Indo-Fijians have been the largest beneficiaries."

7. The "fear factor": most Indo-Fijians were afraid that a SODELPA government would unleash the same forces that had led to the 1987 and 2000 coups against Indo-Fijians:

"These Indo-Fijians felt that Bainimarama and FijiFirst party, with clear control and support of the military, whatever their roles in 1987 and 2000, were today the only ones capable of protecting Indo-Fijians, not the alternative (Indo-Fijian) parties NFP, FLP or PDP.""

He goes on to state that Bainimarama could not have won by this majority had it not been of the support of a large proportion of indigenous Fijian voters.

He estimates, by working backwards from the mostly indigenous Fijian votes received by SODELPA and that going to the small parties, that more than 40% of indigenous Fijian voters also voted for FFP (almost as many as voted for SODELPA).

8. "Freebies" were probably the most powerful factor for them, and may have led to the "betrayal" of SODELPA who expected to win far more than 25 seats based on what indigenous Fijians had told them before the election.

"For the majority of ordinary Indo-Fijians and indigenous Fijians, a massive factor in their vote for Bainimarama was undoubtedly the benefits of free education already delivered, and the promise of many further benefits to come. Released in the FFP manifesto a mere ten days before the main polling on 17 September, Bainimarama promised voters from low income families free electricity, water, medicines, and milk for Class 1 children throughout Fiji, as well as "first home" grants."

There was $10million promised to indigenous Fijians to help develop their lands. There have also been roads, water, and sewerage developments in many rural areas that indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians have also been grateful for (whatever the costs in public debt).

9. Equalisation of lease money between commoners and chiefs has been important for Fijian landowners (he is sceptical about this).

tl; dr: "Bread and butter" issues were far more important to voters of all ethnicity - and emotional and physical security to Indo-Fijian voters - than issues of law and constitutionality and basic human rights which have been eroded for eight years, but are "out of sight" for most ordinary people.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 08:55:53 am by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #42 on: September 21, 2014, 04:07:21 pm »
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Final results have finally been announced:

Fiji First 59,2% (32)
SODELPA 28,2% (15)
NFP 5,5% (3)

Below threshold
--------------
PDP 3,2% (0)
FLP 2,4%  (0)
One Fiji 1,2% (0)
FUFP 0,2% (0)
Independents 0,2% (0)

http://www.electionsfiji.gov.fj/2014-election-results/

Numbers for each polling place is available if any of our map makers need a real challenge.
(because of their crazy "numbers only"-system you will not only need to localize all the obscure places, but will also have to look up each candidates name and party based on his or her candidate number!)

Frank Bainimarama got no less than 202.459 of Fiji Firsts 293.714 votes! That's more than 40% of all votes. There were 496.364 valid votes from the 591.101 registered voters, which gives an incredible (in the literal sense!) 84% voter turnout. I think such a high turnout in an election where bussing were forbidden, and some rural pre-polling voters where told the wrong date, should have been a red flag to the international observers, but apparently not.

Fun fact: Frank Bainimarama had number 279 and the unknown FLP candidate who had 297 broke the party list and ended up on top ahead of his party chairman!

There were 3.714 invalid votes, which was 0.75% of the total, much lower than usual. So the simpler system - just mark a candidate with anything - did some good.

While Fiji Firsts numbers are likely inflated by some fraud I think that the relative strength of the opposition parties is correct.

If you take the last polls conducted Fiji First might have gotten around 45-48% of the vote and then dodged the numbers to get to almost 60%, so around 75-80% of their current total would be my guesstimate of the real numbers - probably closer to the latter.

« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 06:36:09 pm by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #43 on: September 21, 2014, 05:32:31 pm »
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So, in your opinion, is this good or bad for Fiji? Also, how long do you think this Government will last before a coup?
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« Reply #44 on: September 21, 2014, 07:06:41 pm »
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I think its a shame they had to rig the election, since they would have won anyway and NFP would likely have been prepared to enter a coalition if they needed a couple of extra seats.

Its also a shame that the coup makers in 2006 can get off and noone is punished for the corruption going on, but that was likely unavoidable.

The big advantage is that all international sanctions will be removed and external relations with Australia, New Zealand, EU and the US will be normalised, so there is going to be a resurgence of Western investor confidence and renewed economic growth, which will help cover their massive public debt.
You could also hope the return of Western influence will be a counterweight to the massive Chinese influence and make it harder to crack down on government critics and civil society.

Observers also point to the following as some good things:

- Fiji now has an elected government, which may be made more accountable through an elected parliament, where questions can be raised by the opposition members and answers demanded of the government.

- The opposition can now call for all the Auditor General's Reports since 2006, to be tabled in parliament, so that the public can see how the taxpayers' funds have been used (and how some ministers' salaries and consultancy fees have been paid since 2006).

- The opposition can also call for further debates and judicial reviews of Fiji's constitution, including the reconciliation of the current one with the old 1997 Constitution which was ruled by the Fiji Court of Appeal to be still extant.

While its going to be a major struggle for the opposition to call for a fresh look at all the decrees restricting the basic human rights of Fijians they can at least do so legally.
The proceedings of parliament may also make it possible for the media to highlight issues and be a better watchdog on government and society at large (okay, thats maybe a bit optimistic given how tame Fiji media are..).
« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 03:30:52 am by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #45 on: September 21, 2014, 07:25:07 pm »
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Regarding a coup its pretty unlikely. While hardcore traditionalist SODELPA supporters would like the army to topple Bainimarama he is after all the former Commander of the military and has by all accounts a pretty tight control with all security forces. He is also an ethnic Fijian, and a Ratu at that, so he has the same background as the leading officers.

He is however no longer Commander - had to step down to make the whole democracy thing look credible - and the military is now led by Army commander Moses Tikoitoga, who has declined to step down as Commander even if Frank B. wants his old job back and that at least opens a possibility for a coup, so you never know.
Any coup would unleash a massive exodus of investor money and well educated Indo-Fijians and Mixed Race people, which would jeopardize any hope of economic growth, so it would  be costly - also for ethnic Fijians.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 09:07:22 pm by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #46 on: September 23, 2014, 06:46:13 pm »
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This may not be directly related to the election, but is still quite telling about Fiji society.

The President of Fiji's largest Hindu organization Vishva Hindu Parisad, business entrepreneur and FF member Jay Dayal (a great admirer of Narendra Modi) has said some rather unfortunate things about his party's General Secretary and government no. 2 Aiyaz Sayid Khaiyum (referring to him and Fiji Muslims in general as "the Taliban" in e-mails with a journalist, who has now made them public:

"U ever communicated with Taliban? I would love to see that rat die a dogs death."

"Bro, this country is run by Mullahs..no one else. We Hindus are like their servants. We have to praise and please them all the time. For Hindu gatherings, permits are still required. Even in temples. For mazjid and church no permits. I never knew Hindus were terrorists. All Muslims may not be terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims. "

"I guess as retaliation he is appointing all talibans everywhere".

"Many Alis (Shaheen Ali that gay) and Khans are flooded in the system".
« Last Edit: September 23, 2014, 07:03:55 pm by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #47 on: September 24, 2014, 07:48:27 am »
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NFP and SODELPA have agreed that SODELPA leader Ro Teimumu Kepa will be the opposition leader and speak on behalf of the entire opposition. Dunno if that's a good idea for the NFP. Reducing themselves to a SODELPA sidekick could drive the few remaining Indo-Fijian opposition voters towards Fiji First.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 07:51:45 am by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #48 on: September 25, 2014, 03:49:13 am »
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 In a short essay titled  "Far from Free and Fair" - Another victory for treason, lies, deceit and money" professor Wadan Narsey describes how the election process was systematically manipulated ending in a majority of Fijians voting for their dictator.

www.fijileaks.com
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« Reply #49 on: September 25, 2014, 04:02:39 am »
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The new government presented today. Khaiyum promoted to Minister of Finance (+3 minor portfolios). The new Attorney General and Minister of Justice is a member of Khaiyum's Muslim business network, Faiyaz Koya, so it stays in the "family".

Most controversial appointment is the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kububola, who participated in the cups in 1987, 2000  and 2006 - sort of a record, even by Fiji standards (earning him the nickname Coupubola).

They have abolished the Ministry of Anti-Corruption, so they don't need that particular piece of propaganda anymore. Always a joke, of course.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 08:51:59 am by politicus »Logged

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