What Type Of Government Does Fiji Have?

The government buildings of Fiji.
The government buildings of Fiji.

Fiji is a unique nation as it is an archipelago comprised of more than 3000 islands in the South Pacific. The two primary islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The nation is a former British colony, and it gained sovereignty in 1970. Fiji ushered in its first constitution in 1970 as a newly independent state. In 1987, two coups were experienced which deposed the government and monarchy. Another Fijian constitution was adopted in 1990 and a subsequent one in 1997. The current constitution in use in Fiji was passed in 2013.

Executive Branch Of The Government Of Fiji

The duties of the Head of State in Fiji are carried out by the President. The Parliament of Fiji retains the right to elect the President upon nomination by either the Leader of the Opposition or the Prime Minister to serve for three years. The President's role is mainly honorary although he can use certain ‘reserve powers' in the context of a national crisis. The Fijian President also is the commander-in-chief of Fiji's armed forces. The Cabinet of Fiji exercises actual executive power, and its affairs are presided over by the Fijian Prime Minister. The Constitution stipulates that Fiji's Prime Minister is to be elected by the Parliament. The Prime Minister's first role is to nominate ministers who are subsequently appointed by the President. The ministers total between ten and twenty-five.

Legislative Branch Of The Government Of Fiji

The 2013 Fijian constitution provides for a unicameral Parliament. 50 members sit in Fiji's Parliament, and they are elected via Party-list proportional representation where the country votes as one constituency. A political party, as well as an independent candidate, must garner at least 5% of the nationwide votes to win. Members of a political party get seats in Parliament according to the number of votes they acquire. Fiji's Parliament is led by the Prime Minister, who is the head of the largest party in the current government. The Fiji First Party has 32 seats in the current Parliament while the Social Democratic Liberal Party has 15 seats.

Judicial Branch Of The Government Of Fiji

Fiji's judiciary is independent of both the legislature and the executive. The Constitution provides for the establishment of three courts namely the Supreme Court, the Fijian High Court, as well as Fiji's Court of Appeal. The Chief Justice presides over the Supreme Court and the High Court. Three judges sit in the Court of Appeal which gives audience to appeals from the High Court and which can be further appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court serves as Fiji's final judicial authority. The Constitution mandates Parliament to set up other courts such as the established Magistrates Courts.

Local Government Of Fiji

Fiji's territory is divided into four administrative divisions which are further divided into fourteen provinces. The country's government appoints a Commissioner who heads each division. The divisions coordinate the work of the various provinces in its territory to ensure optimum service delivery. A Provincial Council can impose taxes or make bylaws although such measures must be approved by the Fijian Affairs Board. The Provincial Council is headed by the Roko Tui, whose appointment is approved by the Fijian Affairs Board. Fiji also has a dependency called Rotuma, whose territory and dependencies are not included in any of the country's divisions.


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