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     News from the Fiji Islands
 

New Constitution of the Republic of Fiji adopted - 6 September, 2013.
New Elections under this Constitution by 30 September, 2014

A short summary of  the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji

 

 

His Excellency the President of Fiji RATU EPELI NAILATIKAU gave his assent to the new constitution of Fiji on 6 September, 2013.

 

It is a farsighted and comprehensive document and ties up loose ends and assuages a lot of uneasiness and fears of the people of Fiji.

 

The Constitution underpins the first genuine democracy in Fiji’s history.

 

The Constitution provides for a single chamber 50-member Parliament which will be the country’s supreme authority, and be elected on the basis of one person, one vote, one value. An elector will vote for any candidate who they believe will best serve their interest – under a Proportional Representation System.

 

Another important innovation is that representation will not be constituency based – regional constituencies are abolished. There will be one national constituency covering the whole of Fiji. A positive act -focussing on national issues, rather than on local or parochial matters only.

 

You will see from the following summary of what I mean:

 

The Preamble:

 

We, the people of Fiji,

 

Recognising the indigenous people or the I’Taukei, their ownership of I’Taukei lands, their unique culture, culture, traditions and language;

 

Recognising the indigenous people or the Rotuman from the island of Rotuma, their ownership of Rotuman lands, their unique culture, customs, traditions and language;

 

Recognising the descendants of the indentured labourers from British India and the Pacific Islands, their culture, customs, traditions and language; and

 

Recognising the descendants of the immigrants and settlers to Fiji, their culture, customs, traditions and language,

 

Declare that we are all Fijians united by common and equal citizenry;

 

Recognise the Constitution as the supreme law of our country and all Fijians;

 

Commit ourselves to the recognition and protection of human rights and respect for human dignity;

 

Declare our commitment to justice, national sovereignty and security, social and economic wellbeing, and safeguarding our environment; hereby establish this Constitution for the Republic of Fiji.

 

--------------------

 

Other substantive points covered in the constitution include, inter alia –

 

  1. A common and equal citizenry.
  2. A voting system of equal votes of equal value.
  3. A secular state and religious liberty.
  4. An independent and impartial judiciary and equal access to the law.
  5. The right to legal aid assistance.
  6. Specific protection of the ownership of I’Taukei and Rotuman lands and recognition of their culture, customs, traditions and language.
  7. The protection of the rights of leaseholders.
  8. Specific recognition of the culture and language of Indo-Fijians, other Pacific Islanders and other immigrants and settlers.
  9. A Bill of Rights containing specific provisions guaranteeing  a range of civil and political rights and, for the first time, social and economic rights. These include the right to education, economic participation, a just minimum wage, transport, housing, food and water, health and social security.
  10. A free media and freedom of speech, expression, movement and association.
  11. The safeguarding of the environment.
  12. The compulsory teaching of the I’Taukei and Fiji Hindi languages at primary school level, along with English as the common language.
  13. The right to multiple citizenship but a provision that only Fijian citizens be entitled to stand for Parliament.
  14. The right to fair employment practices.
  15. The right to join, form or campaign for a political party.
  16. The right to privacy.
  17. An Accountability and Transparency Commission which, for the first time, will hold all public office holders accountable.
  18. A Code of Conduct for public office holders.
  19. A provision requiring public office holders such as civil servants, and trade unionists to resign before contesting a seat in Parliament.

 

This short summary ends here. If you wish to have a copy of the executive summary of this document, please call

 

Fiji High Commission on 020 7584 3661

or email: [email protected]

 

Or

 

The Secretary,  FIJI CULTURAL & SOCIAL CLUB on 020 8959 1375 or email: [email protected]

 



 

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