FIJI
Parliamentary Chamber: House of Representatives

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1994

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Chamber:
  House of Representatives


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  18 February 1994
25 February 1994


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats of the House of Representatives following premature dissolution of this body on 19 January 1994. General elections were previously held in May 1992.


Background and outcome of elections:

  On 29 November 1993, Parliament rejected the Government’s proposed budget for 1994 as seven members of the ruling Fijian Political Party (SVT) defected and voted with the opposition. As a consequence, President of the Republic Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara dissolved the legislature on 19 January 1994 at the request of SVT Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and the election date was announced.

As the previous (May 1992) general elections, those of 1994 took place against a background of ethnic rivalry due primarily to the constitutional provision which guaranteed a majority of the 70 House of Representatives seats (and control of the government) for indigenous Fijians although the country’s Indian population amounts to some 45% and runs much of the country’s economy. The outgoing governing coalition comprising the basically ethnic-Fijian SVT and the multiracial General Voters’ Party (GVP) was challenged by the Indian-based National Federation Party (NFP), led by Mr. Jai Ram Reddy, and Fiji Labour Party (FLP), headed by Mr. Mahendra Chaudhry, as well as by the newly formed Fijian Association, a breakaway faction of the SVT founded by one of the main dissidents mentioned above, Mr. Josefata Kamikamica. Predictably, campaign issues related chiefly to the controversial constitutional provision, with the Indian parties calling for reform, the NFP taking a more moderate stance on this than the FLP.

Polling results gave a surprisingly clear victory to the SVT, which captured 31 of the 37 Fijian seats, while the Fijian Association, widely expected to do well, secured only five. Of the Indian seats, the NFP upped its total by six to 20. Given this outcome, Mr. Rabuka was sworn in as Prime Minister on 28 February for his second term, being supported, as before, by the GVP as well as by two independent members. Despite SVT hints of a racially united government, the 12-member Cabinet is all Melanesian.

STATISTICS

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Fijian Political Party (SVT) 31 +1
National Federation Party (NFP) 20 +6
Fiji Labour Party (FLP) 7 -6
Fijian Association 5 +5
General Voters’ Party (GVP) 4 -1
All National Congress 1 +1
Fijian Nationalist United Front (FNUF) 0 -5
Independents 2 =

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 67
Women: 3


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Copyright 1994 Inter-Parliamentary Union