1987 Fijian general election

National Federation Party National constituencies Fiji

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General elections were held in Fiji between 4 and 11 April 1987.[1] They marked the first electoral transition of power in Fijian history. Despite receiving just under 50% of the vote, the Alliance Party of longtime Prime Minister, Kamisese Mara was defeated by a coalition of the Fiji Labour Party (contesting a general election for the first time) and National Federation Party, which won 28 seats to the Alliance's 24. The Labour Party's Timoci Bavadra became Prime Minister.

Bavadra's 28-member parliamentary caucus included only seven ethnic Fijians, all of them elected with predominantly Indo-Fijian support from national constituencies. His fourteen-member cabinet included six Fijians, seven Into-Fijians and one European. Effective Indo-Fijian control of the government caused widespread resentment among the ethnic Fijian community, and after less than a month in office, the new government was deposed on 14 May in a coup d'état led by Lieutenant-Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka.

Electoral systen

The 52 members of the House of Representatives were elected from two types of constituency, with candidature in each limited to one of three ethnic groups; Fijians, Indo-Fijians and General electors, generally of European or Chinese descent.

Twenty-seven members were elected from communal constituencies (12 Fijians, 12 Indo-Fijians and 3 general) in which voters voted for someone of their own ethnicity, with the remaining twenty-five elected from national constituencies (10 Fijian, 10 Indo-Fijian and 5 general) in which candidature was limited by ethnicity but all registered voters in a constituency could vote for.


Party Votes % Seats +/–
Alliance Party 484,543 49.5 24 −4
NFPFLP 461,056 47.1 28 +6
Fijian Nationalist Party 14,484 1.5 0 0
Western United Front 8,339 0.9 0 −2
National Federation Party-Koya 4,462 0.5 0 New
Independents 6,723 0.7 0 0
Invalid/blank votes 22,238
Total 1,001,845 100 52 0
Total ballots cast 250,968
Registered voters/turnout 353,691 71.0
Source: Nohlen et al.


Following the elections Bavadra formed a fourteen member cabinet.[2]

Bavadra cabinet
Position Minister
Prime Minister
Minister for Public Service
Minister for Fijian Affairs
Minister for Home Affairs
Timoci Bavadra
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs
Minister for Information
Harish Sharma
Attorney General
Minister for Justice
Jai Ram Reddy
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Joeli Nacola
Minister for Communications, Transport and Works Ahmed Bhamji
Minister for Education, Youth and Sport Tupeni Baba
Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Mahendra Pal
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Civil Aviation Krishna Datt
Minister for Health and Social Welfare Satendra Nandan
Minister for Labour and Immigration Joeli Kalou
Minister for Lands, Energy and Mineral Resources Mosese Volavola
Minister for Trade, Industry and Tourism Navin Maharaj
Minister of State for Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Chris Herbert
Minister of State for Rural Development, Rehabilitation and Relief Temo Sukanaivalu

See also


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume II, p653 ISBN 0-19-924959-8
  2. ^ Fiji's younger and smaller cabinet Pacific Islands Monthly, June 1987, p20