The Parliament of Fiji

Fiji is a Sovereign Democratic Republic and its Parliament may legislate for the peace, welfare and good government of the State in all matters.

Fiji has a bicameral Parliament, consisting of His Excellency the President, an elected House of Representatives and a nominated Senate. Together they exercise the legislative functions of government.

The Parliament largely follows the procedures and customs of the British Parliament.

The sittings of both Houses are always open to the public and visitors are most welcome. In the House of Representatives you will see and hear the members whom the electors have chosen to represent them in Parliament. Deliberations of the Parliament are of vital concern to the people of Fiji.

The Government of Fiji

In June 1871, King Cakobau formally launched his Government at Levuka, and the fist session of the Legislative Assembly was opened in November, 1871.

On October, 1874 Fiji was proclaimed a British Colony and the Governor was responsible for maintaining law and order.

The Membership system of Government was first introduced in Fiji in 1964. Some elected members of the Legislative Council were given specific portfolios.

In July 1965, a constitutional conference was held in London to discuss changes in the Constitution with a view to making further progress toward self-government.

A ministerial system of government was introduced in Fiji in 1967 and Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara was appointed as the Chief Minister and Members of the Executive Council became Council of Ministers.

In April 1970, Fiji's Legislative Council, led by the Chief Minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara met in London to discuss framing a constitution and move towards independence.

On October 10, 1970-96 years to the day when Fijian chiefs ceded the islands to Queen Victoria in 1874 –Fiji gained independence. It accepted a democratic system of constitutional parliamentary government based on the British Westminster model.

The first general election based on a cross-voting system was held in 1972 and the Alliance Party, led by Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara won 33 out of the 52 seats. The National Federation Party (NFP) won theremaining 19 seats in the House of Representatives.

On April, 1987, the fifth general election since Independence was held and it also marked the end of a 17 – year old rule by the Alliance Party and the birth of the new Bavadra Government which was a coalition of the National Federation Party and the Fiji Labour Party.

A month later, parliamentary rule was disrupted after the military-led coup d'etat of 14 May, 1987, the Bavadra Government toppled, and the army led by Lt. Col. Sitiveni Rabuka seized power. The 1970 Constitution was suspended and the then Governor – General, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau described the seizure as unlawful and declared Fiji a state of public emergency.

Lt. Col. Rabuka later named 16 people to his Council of Ministers which lasted eight days, and was replaced by a 19-member Council of Advisers of the Governor – Genera, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau described the seizure as unlawful and declared Fiji a state of public emergency.

Eight days later, on 15 October, 1987, the Covernor – General resigned.

On 5 December, 1987, Lt. Col. Rabka relinquished his military rule when the former Governor – General, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau agreed to be the Republic President. The President, in turn, invited the former Prime Minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara th be Prime Minister, to form an interim government and to steer the country through the following five years until the first general election of the Republic under the new Constitution which was promulgated on 25 July, 1990.

Fiji returned to parliamentary democracy on the 29 June, 1992 when His Excellency the President, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, opened the First Session of the new Parliament House.