Fiji’s election and Australia: the terms of re-engagement

International relations Diplomacy Democracy Parliament Elections Australia Fiji

In this Lowy Institute Policy Brief, Melanesia Program Director Jenny Hayward-Jones examines the significance of Fiji’s elections on 17 September for Australian policy towards Fiji. She argues that the election will only be the first step in Fiji’s transition to democracy after eight years of Voreqe Bainimarama’s military rule. Australia should use its influence to assist the workings of the Fiji Parliament, the development of an unfettered civil society and media and an independent judiciary.

Key findings

  • Fiji holds elections on 17 September after eight years of military rule, but elections are only the first step in reviving Fiji’s democracy.
  • Australia has a strategic interest in ensuring that democratic institutions and other elements of democratic society flourish in Fiji.
  • Australia should use its leverage to assist the Fiji Parliament, civil society and media and the development of an independent judiciary in order to support a return to full democracy.
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