Fiji. On January 7, the state of emergency, which had
prevailed in Fiji since September 2007, was claimed,
according to a statement from Prime Minister Frank
Bainimarama a few days earlier, when he also promised that a
dialogue on a new constitution would start in February.
Bainimarama had received harsh criticism from the outside
world for his increasingly dictatorial rule since taking
power in a coup in December 2006.
In March, the regime presented the plans for the new
constitution. A commission had already been appointed and
would in 2013 submit a proposal for a new constitution to a
Constituent Assembly. The congregation would consist of
representatives from different parts of society. The new
constitution would come into force before the 2014
By a decree, Bainimarama in March abolished the
traditional chief council, Bose Levu Vakaturaga, with 55
members. According to the Prime Minister, the Council had
become politicized and outdated in today's more equal Fiji.
The Council was formed by the British colonizers in 1876,
under the name of the Indigenous Council, as an advisory
body to the colonial power.
In July, Australia and New Zealand agreed to reestablish
full diplomatic relations with Fiji. The decision of the two
countries, which have been Bainimarama's harshest critics in
the outside world, came after they began to notice concrete
preparations for the 2014 elections, for example the work on
the new constitution. Earlier, Fiji's leaders had refused to
conduct elections, despite pressure from, among others,
Australia and New Zealand. However, Fiji was still excluded
from the Commonwealth and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and
international sanctions remained.
countryaah, Laisenia Qarase, Fiji's most recently elected prime
minister, who was deposed in Bainimarama's coup in 2006, was
sentenced in August to one year in prison for corruption.
The crimes must have been committed in the early 1990s when
Qarase was head of a state investment company. However,
Qarase denied the charges.
In November, 71-year-old Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was
appointed Fiji's president for a further three-year term. He
had been sitting in the post since November 2009 and before
that, among other things. has been President of Parliament.
In mid-December, Fiji was ravaged by Evan, the worst
hurricane in 20 years. No people died, but over 8,000
Fijians were forced to leave their homes and settle in
special evacuation centers. Thousands of tourists were
evacuated from small islands to the main island of Vitu
The hurricane and the subsequent rain caused heavy
flooding, demolished housing and infrastructure. Worst, the
western parts of the main island were affected. The
country's second largest city, Lautoka, looked like a war
zone, according to the press.