An election in Fiji has produced no clear winner. It means incumbent Frank Bainimarama and his opponent Sitiveni Rabuka will need to negotiate with a minor party to determine the next Prime Minister.
Here’s the background.
Frank Bainimarama has been Prime Minister since 2007, after he seized power in a military coup the previous year. He was elected for the first time in 2014 after introducing a new constitution.
He was re-elected in 2018 despite a loss in support. His opponent was Sitiveni Rabuka, a former Prime Minister himself who led two coups in 1987. Rabuka is his main opponent again in 2022.
Bainimarama’s Fiji First party won 42.5% of the vote, losing its majority in Parliament for the first time. Rabuka’s People’s Alliance and its partner National Federation together won 44.7%, also failing to get a majority.
Opposition parties have questioned the accuracy of the vote count, but a Multinational Observer Group, co-chaired by Australian MP Rebekha Sharkie, said the counting has been “systematic, methodical and transparent”.
The two major parties will now need to negotiate with the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), the only other party which won enough votes to get seats in Parliament.
This means SODELPA, despite winning just over 5% of the vote, will be able to decide who forms government.
The party’s general secretary told a press conference the party was “sitting in the middle” and would negotiate with both groups.