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Fiji Time: 7:36 PM on Friday 25 April

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Single constituency

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, December 07, 2013

THE provision of a single national constituency and a single chamber parliament under the 2013 Constitution is similar to legislature in countries like Israel and the Netherlands.

The new system will ensure that parliamentarians focus on national development rather than the interests or concerns of a few citizens.

Speaking at the opening of the 15th Attorney-General's Conference in Natadola yesterday, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the radical change in how parliament would work under the new Constitution was necessary.

"This is in response to our history of ethnic electorates and the common complaint that members of previous parliaments were more concerned with parochial issues than with the wider good," he said.

"A single constituency forces all members of parliament, in a small country like ours, to be concerned not just with the needs of their particular constituencies or regions but with the development of Fiji as a whole."

Commodore Bainimarama said the open list system of proportional representation was similar to that of Israel, Brazil, Finland, Indonesia, Moldova and the Australian upper house.

"We have settled on a 50-member chamber on the basis that a lean parliament is an effective parliament in a country the size of Fiji.

"We want to attract high quality candidates to political office and pay them well, a practice that has had a hugely beneficial impact on good governance in a country like Singapore.

"We certainly can't have people joining parliament because they can't get a job elsewhere, which has been the case in Fiji in the past."