Former Fiji PM Chaudhry flags Constitution as democracy hurdle


Former Prime Minister and Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry claims that Fiji’s Constitution is a significant obstacle to democracy.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the symposium titled ‘Democracy Reimagined: Charting the Course for Fiji’s Political Future,’ Chaudhry claims the 2013 Constitution was imposed, and its review requirements are practically unattainable.

Chaudhry suggested the possibility of engaging the Opposition Party in a bipartisan effort for a national interest cause, emphasizing that the Constitution might need revision.

“They’re ways and means of dealing with the situation. There are a number of options that can be considered. The Opposition can now be approached.”

Deputy Prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica stressed the importance of a collective commitment to democracy and adhering to the rule of law, regardless of personal preferences.

“No matter what constitution we put up, it can be perfect, shiny, and really good, but I think as a country, we need to make a commitment that there will be no more coups in Fiji.”

Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Professor Biman Prasad highlighted the continuity of military government decrees enacted post-2006 under the 2013 Constitution’s Section 174.

“The only positive aspect is that those laws can be changed in parliament. And I think a new coalition government has started on that. For example, in a way, it repealed the media degree because if you want to have genuine democracy, you’ve got to have a free media environment.”

Throughout the discussions, the overarching message of upholding democratic principles and good governance resonated prominently.

Meanwhile, despite being extended an invitation, the Opposition Party opted not to attend the event.