25 September, 2014, 12:00 am
Fiji’s parliamentary history.
* After gaining independence from the UK in 1970, Fiji held its first general election in 1972;
* Prior to independence, there was a Legislative Council which was renamed as the parliament after independence;
* After the first election, membership of the Parliament or House of Representatives was increased from 36 to 52 and to 70 in 1992;
* Fiji was divided into communal and national constituencies in the elections from 1972 to 1987 and the parliamentarians were elected by voters registered as members of a specific ethnic group;
* In 1987, the FLP and NFP coalition won the election and ended the ruling Alliance Party’s long-time reign in government. It was the year of the first coup;
* The elections of 1992 and 1994 saw all members elected through voting along communal lines. A new parliament was opened in Veiuto in June 1992;
* A constitutional review in 1997 introduced a new system with 71 members and 25 MPs were elected from open constituencies while 46 were elected along communal lines;
* The situation was the same in the 2006 general election but the government’s term in office did not last for long because of a military coup;
* Under the 2013 Constitution, there are only 50 seats in Parliament and elections are to be held every four years. Unlike the past, there will be no senate under the 2013 Constitution;
* Every parliament in the world has a speaker and a deputy speaker; and
* Fiji’s Parliament will be situated in Government Buildings. Like the old parliament, the sitting arrangement of MPs is likely to be in a “horseshoe” shape.