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Democracy and the Fijian Chiefly System: An Ongoing Problem

Appana, Subhash and Abbott, Malcolm (2015) Democracy and the Fijian Chiefly System: An Ongoing Problem. Fijian Studies: A Journal of Contemporary Fiji, 13 (2). pp. 91-109. ISSN 1728-7456

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Fiji, once held as a shining example of multi-cultural democracy, moved through pariah phases for 27 years because of what was considered to be “continuing political instability” emanating from coups that plagued the Pacific island state since 1987 when the gun was first accepted as the instrument of choice to change government within a democratic frame-work. At the centre of all major political decisions, from 1874 (when Fiji was ceded to Britain) to 2006 (when Commodore Bainimarama took control of government), lay the Fijian chiefly system. This paper critically examines the changing role(s) the Fijian chiefly system has played historically right from the time the chiefs were engaged by beachcombers to establish some sort of a centrally-organized authority in a fragmented Pacific Island (pre-1874), to the signing of the Deed of Cession (1874), to independence in 1970, to the first coup of 1987, through all other coups until 2006 when the Bainimarama government declared itself opposed to the structure of chiefs in Fiji. The paper then clearly demarcates the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) from the Fijian chiefly system in providing a provocative in-depth discussion of what role the Fijian chiefly system could play from here onwards or whether it has surpassed its use value for governance in Fiji.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Management and Public Administration
Depositing User: Subhash Appana
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2016 04:10
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2016 23:36

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