Fiji’s postcolonial journey has been fraught. The promise of prosperity and political stability, high at the time of independence in 1970, dissipated soon afterward as the politics of ethnicity came to the fore and as disagreements developed among indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians about the nature and direction of public policy. A military coup in 1987 removed a democratically elected government, but instead of ensuring the entrenchment of Fijian political control, it unleashed forces whose ultimate effect was the undermining of Fijian political unity. Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s coup in 2006 removed from power an indigenous Fijian–led government, promising in the process to overturn the assumptions and understandings about power sharing that underpinned the understandings and assumptions that were embedded in the Independence constitution and to lead the country towards a non-racial future. The reaction to the latest coup from Fiji’s different communities remains a matter of intense debate in the country.


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pp. 412-436
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