Fiji 2004

Fiji People

Yearbook 2004

Fiji. The total population in Fiji is 896,456 people in 2020. Vice President Jope Seniloli was sentenced in August to four years in prison for his involvement in the coup in 2000, led by businessman George Speight, who is serving a life sentence for high treason. Seniloli was convicted of swearing in various people as ministers and himself as interim president of Speight’s illegal coup government. At the end of the year he left his post and was succeeded by Joni Madraiwiwi. The Vice President, Rakuita Vakalalabure, was sentenced to six years in prison for his involvement, while three co-accused businessmen received between one and three years in prison. All five appealed against the judgment. A sixth defendant, the sports minister, was released. At the same time, 21 soldiers were sentenced to between three and six years in prison for participating in the coup. In December, Information Minister Simione Kaitane and four other persons were also indicted for involvement in the coup.

The long-standing dispute over how the government posts should be distributed was not resolved during the year. The dispute is about the interpretation of the constitution, which was written to promote multi-ethnic governments because the politics of Fiji have long been characterized by contradictions between the large groups of Fijians and Indians. After the 2001 election, Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase refused to give any ministerial posts to the Indian-dominated Labor Party (FLP). After a ruling in the Supreme Court in 2003, he offered FLP 14 ministerial posts, but party leader Mahendra Chaudhry claimed that FLP is entitled to 17 of the 36 ministerial posts. The matter would once again be decided in the Supreme Court, but in July the Court announced that the politicians themselves must agree on the distribution of ministerial posts. In November, FLP gave up negotiations with the government and officially went into opposition.

Former Prime Minister and President Ratu Kamisese Mara, who is considered to be the independent founder of Fiji, passed away in April 83 years old. Thousands of people attended the funeral, including government officials from other states in Oceania.

At least ten people died and tens of thousands were evacuated during the storms and floods that hit Fiji in April.

Fiji People