Fiji elections: Bainimarama on track to win in spite of poll’s ‘lost credibility’

Counting at the Fijian Elections Office
Counting at the Fijian Elections Office centre last night . . . a "glitch" in the system. Image: Fijian Elections Office

By Michael Field of The Pacific Newsroom

FijiFirst’s Voreqe Bainimarama, the incumbent Prime Minister, looks to have scored a comfortable win in Fiji’s general election.

While the voting system and count has been complicated, and lost much credibility when the system went down, FijiFirst is likely to hold a majority of the Legislative Assembly’s 55 seats.

Sitiveni Rabuka’s People’s Alliance and the National Federation Party will make up the opposition.

Provisional results of the Fiji general elections
Provisional results of the Fiji general elections after 1238 of 2071 polling stations had been counted. Image: FEO

Social Democrats and Fiji Labour Party have failed to make the five percent threshold and will not be in Parliament.

The Suva-based regional news magazine Islands Business reports that the election count was plagued by a long delay and technical breakdown last night, “as former coup leader turned Prime Minister [Voreqe] Bainimarama aimed to extend his 16-year grip on power.”

According to reporter Steven Trask, “his chief political rival Sitiveni Rabuka, a two-time coup leader nicknamed “Rambo”, held an early lead on Wednesday night before results were abruptly taken offline.

“Bainimarama’s governing FijiFirst party was in front when the reporting resumed some four hours later.

“In a hastily-arranged press conference in the early hours of [today], election supervisor Mohammed Saneem said vote counters had detected an ‘anomaly’.”

RNZ Pacific described it as a “glitch” in the system.

Michael Field is an independent journalist and author, and co-manager of The Pacific Newsroom.

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