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Fiji Military Defiant, Braves Sanctions

  • April 12th, 2009
  • Posted by 7thmin

fi-ji-coup.jpgThe Fiji Islands looked to be on the path to despotism as never before, as Commodore Frank Bainimarama (picture), declared he would ensure that government decision-making was removed from “politics”.

The Commodore and “interim Prime Minister” was speaking on television after President Josefa Iloilo, whom he had installed in power, abrogated the country’s constitution and dismissed all judges (10.4.09).

The day before, an appeals court had declared the military government illegal.

Amid international condemnation, Australia’s Acting Foreign Minister, Simon Crean, predicted the weekend events “will not help the economy of Fiji”.

That will prove true if more international economic penalties are applied.

The European Union as a major provider of development assistance has started a process of withdrawal of its economic cooperation, in consultation with Australia and the countries of the South Pacific Forum.

The immediate impact of that is the loss of trade concessions benefiting the sugar industry; and once again the future of the EU’s Pacific regional aid plan headquartered at Suva has been put under a cloud.

The EU, and partners, had been holding the military authorities to an earlier promise to hold elections this year – now extended to a date, at least five years away.

Hard media censorship has been imposed on Fiji, under a 30-day State of Emergency, with soldiers posted at news rooms, publicly telling journalists to write “positively” about the latest usurpation of political power.


Pacific Media Watch, Auckland, despatches: “President sets out decrees for Fiji”, (; “Fiji Times editorial: A sad day for Fiji”, (; Prof George Williams, “The rule of law has been displaced by the force of arms”, (SMH Online/Pacific Media watch)., (12.4.09).

See also, EUAustralia, “What to do about Fiji coup leader?”, 27.1.09; “EU – Australia upgrade joint activities”, 13.11.08;   “Renewed pressure on the Fiji junta”, 3.1.08.