1987 Fijian coups d'état

The Fijian coups of 1987 resulted in the overthrow of the elected government of Fijian Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra, the deposition of Elizabeth II as Queen of Fiji, and in the declaration of a republic. The first coup, in which Bavadra was deposed, took place on 14 May 1987; a second coup on 28 September ended the monarchy, and was shortly followed by the proclamation of a republic on 7 October. Both military actions were led by Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka, then third in command of the Royal Fiji Military Forces. Depending on perspective, one may view the event either as two successive coups d'état separated by a four-month intermission, or as a single coup begun on 14 May and completed with the declaration of the republic.


Both before and after Fiji gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1970, tensions between the indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian ethnic groups (comprising an estimated 46% and 49% of the 1987 population, respectively) continually manifested themselves in social and political unrest. Parliamentary elections in April 1987 resulted in the replacement of the indigenous-led Conservative government of Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara with a multi-ethnic Labour-led coalition supported mostly by the Indo-Fijian plurality, and Rabuka claimed ethnic Fijian concerns of racial discrimination as his excuse for seizing power. Many authorities doubt the veracity of this, however, given existing constitutional guarantees.

Coups d'etat

May coup

On the morning of 14 May, around 10 am, a section of ten masked, armed soldiers entered the Fijian House of Representatives and subdued the national legislature, which had gathered there for its morning session. Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka, dressed in civilian clothes, approached Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra from his position in the public gallery and ordered the members of parliament to leave the building. They did so without resisting. The coup was an apparent success, and had been accomplished without loss of life.

At around 11 am, Radio Fiji announced the news of the military takeover. Rabuka was reported to have gone to Government House to see the Governor-General. He was seeking recognition of the military action and the overthrow of the Bavadra government. A caretaker government was to be named shortly, and the public was urged to "remain calm and continue with their daily work."[1] At the meeting, the Governor-General (who was Rabuka's paramount chief) gave a mild rebuke to Rabuka. He asked him "What have you done?" and "You mean I have no job?" He added that Rabuka should have given the deposed government more time. The meeting ended with the Governor-General stating "Good luck, I hope you know what you are doing."[1]

Following the coup, the Governor-General commissioned a Constitution Review Committee, led by Sir John Falvey to look at the "deficiencies" of Fiji's 1970 constitution. The review of the constitution was stacked with individuals who supported the coup.

The commission was to begin hearings on 6 July, and deliver its recommendations to the Governor General by 31 July. Its terms of reference were to "strengthen the representation of indigenous Fijians, and in so doing bear in mind the best interests of other peoples in Fiji."[2] The Commission received 860 written and 120 oral submissions, and produced a report recommending a new unicameral legislature comprising 36 Fijians (28 elected and 8 appointed by the Great Council of Chiefs), 22 Indo-Fijians, 8 General electors, 1 Rotuman, and up to four nominees of the Prime Minister. National constituencies, ethnically allocated and elected by universal suffrage, were to be abolished, and all voting was to be communal. The Prime Minister's post was to be reserved for an indigenous Fijian.[3][4]

The Governor-General dissolved parliament and granted amnesty to Rabuka, while promoting him to the position of commander of the Royal Fiji Military Forces. The actions of the Governor-General were viewed with suspicion by the deposed government and Bavadra challenged Ratu Sir Penaia's decision in the Supreme Court of Fiji.[1]

October coup

From independence in 1970, Fiji's head of State was the Queen of Fiji, Elizabeth II. The Fijian Supreme Court ruled the coup unconstitutional, and the Governor-General attempted to assert executive power. He opened negotiations known as the Deuba Talks with both the deposed government, and the Alliance Party, which most indigenous Fijians supported. These negotiations culminated in the Deuba Accord of 23 September 1987, which provided for a government of national unity, in which both parties would be represented under the leadership of the Governor-General. Fearing that the gains of the first coup were about to be lost, Rabuka staged a second coup on 25 September.

International involvement

Australia and New Zealand, the two nations with foremost political influence in the region, were somewhat disquieted by the event, but ultimately took no action to intervene. They did, however, establish a policy of non-recognition regarding the new government, suspending foreign aid in concert with the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Australian labour movement, taking the ousting of a Labor Party-led government as an affront to the worldwide labour movement, instituted an embargo against shipments to Fiji. As Australia was Fiji's largest foreign trading partner, this resulted in a large diminution in Fiji's international trade.


The United Nations immediately denounced the coup, demanding that the former government be restored. On 7 October the new regime declared Fiji a republic, revoking the 1970 constitution; the Commonwealth responded with Fiji's immediate expulsion from the association.

A new constitution was ratified in 1990, in which the offices of President and Prime Minister, along with two-thirds of the Senate, a substantial majority of the House of Representatives were reserved for indigenous Fijians. These discriminatory provisions were eventually overturned by a constitutional revision in 1997.

The coups triggered much emigration by Indo-Fijians (particularly skilled workers), making them a minority by 1994. Today, however, though Fiji struggles economically, the country has been able to slowly recover from this loss of necessary skills.


  1. ^ a b c Brij V. Lal. "In the Eye of the Storm: Jai Ram Reddy and the Politics of Postcolonial Fiji" (PDF).
  2. ^ Lal, Brij V. "In the Eye of the Storm: Jai Ram Reddy and the Politics of Postcolonial Fiji". Google Books. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  3. ^ Miller, Laurel E.; Aucoin, Louis. "Framing the State in Times of Transition: Case Studies in Constitution Making". Google Books. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  4. ^ "The 1990 Constitution" (PDF). Fiji Leaks. Retrieved 29 September 2015.

External links

2013 Constitution of Fiji

Fiji's fourth constitution was signed into law by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau on September 6, 2013, coming into effect immediately. It is the first to eliminate race-based electoral rolls, race-based seat quotas, district-based representation, the unelected upper chamber, and the role of the hereditary Council of Chiefs. It vests sole legislative authority in a single-chamber, 50-seat, at-large Parliament, to be first convened following general elections in 2014. It is also the first ever to grant the right to multiple citizenship (in effect since 2009 by decree, on abrogation of the 1997 constitution), and lowers the voting age to 18.

Air New Zealand Flight 24

Air New Zealand Flight 24 was hijacked on the tarmac at Nadi International Airport, Fiji on 19 May 1987. The flight, operated by a Boeing 747-200, was making a scheduled refuelling stop while en route from Tokyo Narita to Auckland. The hijacker boarded the aircraft and held the three flight crew members hostage, threatening to blow up the aircraft unless the deposed Fijian prime minister, Dr. Timoci Bavadra, and his 27 ministers who were being held under house arrest were released. The flight crew were eventually able to overpower the hijacker and hand him over to local police. There were no injuries or deaths reported, and the aircraft never left the tarmac.

Criticism of monarchy

Criticism of monarchy can be targeted against the general form of government—monarchy—or more specifically, to particular monarchical governments as controlled by hereditary royal families. In some cases, this criticism can be curtailed by legal restrictions and be considered criminal speech, as in lèse-majesté. Monarchies in Europe and their underlying concepts, such as the Divine Right of Kings, were often criticized during the Age of Enlightenment, which notably paved the way to the French Revolution and the proclamation of the abolition of the monarchy in France. Earlier, the American Revolution had seen the Patriots suppress the Loyalists and expel all royal officials. In this century, monarchies are present in the world in many forms with different degrees of royal power and involvement in civil affairs:

Absolute monarchies in Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, the United Arab Emirates, and the Vatican City;

Constitutional monarchies in the United Kingdom and its sovereign's Commonwealth Realms, and in Belgium, Denmark, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and others.The twentieth century, beginning with the 1917 February Revolution in Russia and accelerated by two world wars, saw many European countries replace their monarchies by republics, while others replaced their absolute monarchy with constitutional monarchy. Reverse movements have also occurred, with brief returns of the monarchy in France under the Bourbon Restoration, the July Monarchy, and the Second French Empire, the Stuarts after the English Civil War and the Bourbons in Spain after the Franco dictatorship.

Equality before the law

Equality before the law, also known as equality under the law, equality in the eyes of the law, legal equality, or legal egalitarianism, is the principle that each independent being must be treated equally by the law (principle of isonomy) and that all are subject to the same laws of justice (due process). Therefore, the law must guarantee that no individual nor group of individuals be privileged or discriminated against by the government. Equality before the law is one of the basic principles of liberalism. This principle arises from various important and complex questions concerning equality, fairness and justice. Thus, the principle of equality before the law is incompatible and ceases to exist with legal systems such as slavery, servitude, colonialism, or monarchy.Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states: "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law". Thus, everyone must be treated equally under the law regardless of race, gender, national origin, color, ethnicity, religion, disability, or other characteristics, without privilege, discrimination or bias. The general guarantee of equality is provided by most of the world's national constitutions, but specific implementations of this guarantee vary. For example, while many constitutions guarantee equality regardless of race, only a few mention the right to equality regardless of nationality.

Fiji coup

There have been four Fijian coups d'état in the past thirty years:

1987 Fijian coups d'état (two)

2000 Fijian coup d'état

2006 Fijian coup d'étatSee also 2009 Fijian constitutional crisis

George Veikoso

George "Fiji" Veikoso , born George Brooks Veikoso (May 10, 1970) is a Fijian classic reggae, Hip-Hop, R & B and Jazz vocalist, songwriter, music producer and occasional actor. He was born in Fiji but raised in Hawaii.

HMAS Adelaide (FFG 01)

HMAS Adelaide (FFG 01) was the lead ship of the Adelaide class of guided missile frigates built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), based on the United States Navy's Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates. She was built in the United States and commissioned into the RAN in 1980.

During her career, Adelaide was part of Australian responses or contributions to the 1987 Fijian coups d'état, the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, the Indonesian riots of May 1998, the INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce, the War in Afghanistan, and the United States-led invasion of Iraq. In 1997, the frigate rescued two competitors in the 1996–97 Vendée Globe solo, round-the-world yacht race. In 2001, a boat carrying suspected illegal immigrants was intercepted by Adelaide; the events of this interception became the centre of the Children overboard affair.

In 2008, Adelaide was the second ship of the class to be decommissioned, in order to offset the cost of an upgrade to the other four vessels. This ship was to be sunk off Avoca Beach, New South Wales as a dive wreck on 27 March 2010, until an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal by protest groups led to a postponement of the scuttling until additional cleanup work was completed. Despite further attempts to delay or cancel the scuttling, Adelaide was sunk off Avoca on 13 April 2011.

HMAS Sydney (FFG 03)

HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) was an Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The frigate was one of six modified Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates ordered from 1977 onwards, and the third of four to be constructed in the United States of America. Laid down and launched in 1980, Sydney was named for the capital city of New South Wales, and commissioned into the RAN in 1983.

During her operational history, Sydney has been involved in Australian responses to the 1987 Fijian coups d'état and the Bougainville uprising. The frigate was deployed to the Persian Gulf on five occasions in support of United States operations during the Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and has completed two round-the-world voyages.

Sydney was originally expected to remain in service until 2013, but was retained in service until 2015; ceasing active deployments on 27 February and serving as a moored training ship until her decommissioning on 7 November. The frigate will be replaced in service by a Hobart-class destroyer.

HMAS Tobruk (L 50)

HMAS Tobruk (L 50) was a Landing Ship Heavy (LSH) of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), based on the design of the Round Table-class of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Planning for the ship began in the 1970s to provide the Australian Army with a permanent sealift capability. She was laid down by Carrington Slipways in 1979, launched in 1980, and commissioned in 1981. She was a multi-purpose, roll-on/roll-off heavy lift ship capable of transporting soldiers, APCs, and tanks, and delivering them to shore via landing craft or directly by beaching.

The ship experienced problems during her early career with her engines (which differed from the British base design) and sewerage system (leading to the death of a cadet in 1981). During the 1980s, the ship delivered supplies to the Multinational Force and Observers on the Sinai Peninsula, assisted in the withdrawal from RAAF Base Butterworth, provided support and accommodation for delegates to the South Pacific Forum, and was part of the Australian response to the 1987 Fijian coups d'état. In the early 1990s, Tobruk was part of ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the landing at Anzac Cove, then after a refit, participated in peacekeeping efforts in Somalia.

Plans to replace Tobruk with one of the Kanimbla-class ships began in 1993. She was offered for sale to the Royal New Zealand Navy, who refused because of the ship's manpower requirements. Delays in converting the Kanimbla's for service meant Tobruk continued with normal operations during the 1990s. Attempts to sell the ship to the British and the Portuguese did not succeed, and in 1997 the decision was made to keep Tobruk, as the Kanimbla's could not completely replace the heavy lift capability provided. During this period, Tobruk was deployed to Bougainville on several occasions as peacekeeping operations during the Bougainville Civil War. At the end of the decade, Tobruk operated as part of the INTERFET peacekeeping operation in East Timor.

In 2000 and 2001, Tobruk was sent to the Solomon Islands on several deployments in response to the civil war: first to evacuate Australian citizens, then as a neutral venue for peace talks. From late 2001 to early 2002, the ship was in northern Australian waters on border-protection duties as part of Operation Relex. During 2005 and early 2006, Tobruk sailed to the Middle East on several occasions to deliver vehicles and cargo to Australian forces in the region. Tobruk and the two Kanimbla's were set to East Timor in mid-2006 in response to the 2006 East Timorese crisis, forming the first RAN amphibious readiness group since World War II. The rest of the decade included further border protection deployments under Operation Resolute, a visit to Hawaii for the RIMPAC multinational naval exercise, support for the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program, relief operations following the 2009 Samoa earthquake and tsunami, and use as the venue for a Fall Out Boy concert.

After spending several months in 2010 undergoing extended maintenance, Tobruk participated in the United States Navy's Pacific Partnership humanitarian assistance deployment. Because of the need for propeller shaft repairs, Tobruk could not be part of the military response to Cyclone Yasi. Heavy use and lack of maintenance in previous years began to take its toll, with Tobruk unavailable for service on several occasions during the early 2010s. As the two Kanimbla's had been forced out of service by ongoing issues, the Australian government had to charter a succession of civilian ships to provide standby heavy transport capability. In 2013, Tobruk again participated in Pacific Partnership, followed by a visit to the Philippines with disaster relief supplies after Typhoon Haiyan. In early 2015, the ship was part of the response to Cyclone Pam's impact on Vanuatu. Tobruk was decommissioned in July 2015, and was scuttled as a dive wreck in June 2018.

Inoke Kubuabola

Ratu Inoke Kubuabola (born 1948) is a Fijian politician and Cabinet Minister. He is currently the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Kubuabola worked as an assistant manager for the New Zealand Insurance Company in Auckland and Suva. From 1975 to 1987 he was secretary of the South Pacific Bible Society. A Fijian nationalist, he was involved in the planning of the 1987 Fijian coups d'état. Following the coup he was appointed Minister for Information in the Military Government, and subsequently served as Minister for Information, Broadcasting, Television and Telecommunication.Kubuabola was elected to Parliament in the 1992 election as a candidate for the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT) and reappointed to Cabinet as Minister for Youth, Employment Opportunities and Sports. He was re-elected at the 1994 election and was appointed Minister for Regional Development and Multi Ethnic Affairs. In 1996 he was appointed Minister of Works, Infrastructure and Transport.Following the defeat of the SVT government at the 1999 election and the subsequent resignation of its leader, the defeated Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, Kubuabola became leader of the SVT and Leader of the Opposition. Under the 1997 Constitution of Fiji the Leader of the Opposition chose 8 of the 32 members of the Senate, and Kubuabola sparked controversy in the role by limiting his selection to members of opposition parties.

Following the Fiji coup of 2000 Kubuabola was appointed Minister for Information and Communications in the interim Cabinet formed by Laisenia Qarase. He held this office till September 2001, when he lost his seat in the 2001 election. That year he also resigned the Chairmanship of the Cakaudrove Provincial Council, which he had led for served years, to Sitiveni Rabuka.

List of wars involving Fiji

This is a list of wars involving Fiji or Colony of Fiji.

Noor Dean

Noor Dean is a Fiji Indian lawyer and politician who served in the Suva City Council and was elected to the House of Representatives of Fiji in 1987.

Operation Morris Dance

Operation Morris Dance was an Australian military operation conducted in May 1987 in response to the first of the 1987 Fijian coups d'état.

On the morning of 14 May 1987 the Military of Fiji took control of the country in a bloodless coup d'état. In response to the coup, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) began preparations to evacuate Australian citizens from Fiji. Five Australian warships (HMA Ships Stalwart, Sydney, Parramatta, Success, and Tobruk) were deployed to patrol south-west of Fiji. 'B' Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment was added to this force on 23 May, with the soldiers being flown from Townsville to Norfolk Island and transferred by helicopter to Stalwart, Tobruk, and Success. The Australian task force remained off Fiji until 29 May, when the situation in the country had stabilised.

Paul Manueli

Colonel Paul Manueli is a former Commander of the Royal Fiji Military Forces, a former Fiji Cabinet minister, Senator and successful businessman.

Republicanism in Barbados

Republicanism in Barbados is a political proposal for Barbados to transition from a parliamentary constitutional monarchy under a hereditary monarch (currently Elizabeth II) to a republic.

Republicanism in Morocco

In the history of Morocco, there have been a few attempts to establish republican forms of government:

Moor refugees from Andalusia formed in Salé and Rabat the Republic of Bou Regreg, a base for piracy (1627-1668).

Berber rebels in the Rif Region first established the Rif Republic (1921-1926) under Abd el-Krim against Spanish colonial rule, the state lasted until 1925 when the rebels tried to take the city of Fes, in a failed attempt to expand the republic into French Morocco.

In 1971 army cadets under General Madbouh and Colonel Ababuh attacked king Hassan II in the Shkirat palace. A republic was proclaimed on Radio Rabat, was but suppressed by General Mohamed Oufkir. However, in 1972 Oufkir initiated his own coup d'état; the Air Force tried multiple times to bring down the king's airplane, attacked the Rabat airport and bombed the royal palace in Rabat. The coup ultimately failed.

During the 2011–12 Moroccan protests, a few protesters chanted republican slogans. They were mainly from the Al Adl Wa Al Ihssane Islamist movement and the Ila Al Amame Communist party. These slogans weren't repeated by the vast majority of the protesters.

Republicanism in Sweden

Republicanism in Sweden (Swedish: Republikanism) is the collective term for the movement in Sweden that seeks to establish a republic and abolish the Swedish constitutional monarchy.

Republicanism in Turkey

An important influence of Republicanism in Turkey formed a new republic in 1923 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. In the Ottoman Empire an inherited aristocracy and sultinate suppressed republican ideas until the successful republican revolution of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the 1920s. Atatürk preached six basic principles. His Six Arrows were Republicanism, Populism, Secularism, Reformism, Nationalism, and Statism).

In the 21st century Turkey has sought admission to the European Union on the grounds that it shares common political values with the nations of Europe. This concept shares some of the same classical roots as European republicanism and in modern times this form of government is called "republican" in English, but in pre-modern times it is not generally called republicanism.

Scottish republicanism

Scottish republicanism (Scottish Gaelic: Poblachdas na h-Alba) is an ideology based on the belief that Scotland should be a republic, as opposed to being under the monarchy of the United Kingdom. This is usually proposed through either Scotland becoming an independent republic, or being part of a reformed Britain.

Although this is not explicitly part of the independence movement, support for a republic is most often through pro-independence organisations who advocate for Scotland to become an independent state with a democratically elected head of state, instead of the status quo in which the head of state is the British monarch.


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