Social Democratic Liberal Party

Sitiveni Rabuka Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua Teimumu Kepa
Social Democratic Liberal Party
LeaderSitiveni Rabuka
PresidentRatu Epenisa Cakobau[1]
Secretary-GeneralEmele Duituturaga
FoundedJanuary 2013 (2013-01)
Preceded bySoqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua
Headquarters66 McGregor Street, Suva
IdeologyEthnic nationalism[2]
Christian nationalism[3]
Social capitalism
Political positionFiscal:
Centre to centre-left
ColoursLight blue
MPs in the Parliament of Fiji
21 / 51

The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) is a Fijian ethno-nationalist[4] political party. The party was formed in January 2013 after the dissolution of the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua. The party's leader is Sitiveni Rabuka.


Party foundation

In January 2013 Fiji's military regime promulgated new regulations governing the registration of political parties.[5] Among the new provisions was a requirement that all political parties be named in English rather than Fijian.[6] Rather than changing its name, the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) Party wound itself up, reforming as the Social Democratic Liberal Party in order to retain the SDL acronym.[7][8] However, a subsequent amendment to the Political Parties Decree banned the use of the acronyms of former parties, forcing the party to switch to "SODELPA".[9]

The party was provisionally led by Dr Tupeni Baba, but in March 2013 it unanimously selected former SDL Cabinet Minister Ro Teimumu Kepa as its first permanent leader.[10]

The party applied for registration on 26 February 2013,[11] and was registered on 3 May 2013.[12][13]

2014 elections

The party contested the 2014 elections, naming a list of 45 candidates in June.[14][15] In July, it released its manifesto, promising to reduce poverty, restore the Great Council of Chiefs, and revive the Qoliqoli Bill, which had been stopped by the 2006 coup.[16] The party gained 28.2 percent of the vote and 15 seats in Parliament.[17] Following the election, party leader Teimumu Kepa became Leader of the Opposition.[18]

In June 2016, Kepa announced that she was standing down as leader of SODELPA.[19] She was replaced by former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.[20]

2018 elections

The party ran 51 candidates in the 2018 elections, seven of whom were women.[21] It campaigned on a platform of restoring the 1997 constitution,[22] promising to restore the Great Council of Chiefs within a hundred days if elected, and to consider changing the electoral system to restore communal constituencies.[23] The party won 39.85% of the vote, increasing its number of MPs from 15 to 21.[24]

2020 suspension

On 26 May 2020, the party was suspended for 60 days for breaching the Political Parties Act. All appointees were declared null and void, and were given 60 days to rectify their issues or face deregistration. The registrar stated that the party's Vice President, Vijay Singh, is the only legitimate officeholder in the party.[25] The party's suspension was lifted on 29 June.[26]

Electoral history

Parliamentary elections

Election Party leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
2014 Teimumu Kepa 139,857 28.20%
15 / 50
Decrease 21 Increase 2nd Opposition
2018 Sitiveni Rabuka 181,072 39.85%
21 / 51
Increase 6 Steady 2nd Opposition


  1. ^ "SODELPA appoints president and vice presidents". FBC. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  2. ^ Ratuva, Steven (17 October 2014). "A Symbol Of Hope – Reflections On The Fiji Election". Pacific Islands Report. Archived from the original on 6 June 2016.
  3. ^ "Fiji's Sodelpa promises poverty relief". Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  4. ^ Steven Ratuva (2016). "Shifting democracy: Electoral changes in Fiji". In Steven Ratuva; Stephanie Lawson (eds.). The People Have Spoken: The 2014 Elections in Fiji. ANU Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-76046-002-0.
  5. ^ Michael Field (2013-01-16). "Fiji regime cracks down on political parties". Stuff. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  6. ^ "SDL says Fiji name change requirement is ridiculous". Radio New Zealand International. 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  7. ^ "Fiji's main party dissolved in face of onerous decree". Radio New Zealand International. 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  8. ^ Nasik Swami (2013-01-26). "SDL alive". Fiji Times. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  9. ^ "Fiji SDL Party changes name again to get around decree". Radio Australia. 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  10. ^ "Ro Teimumu Kepa is the new leader of SODELPA". Fiji Today. 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  11. ^ "New Fiji party applies for registration". Radio New Zealand International. 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
  12. ^ "Three of Fiji's political parties now registered". Radio New Zealand International. 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
  13. ^ "Green light for NFP, FLP and SODELPA". Fiji Times. 2013-05-03. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
  14. ^ Apisalome Rabo (2014-06-14). "SODELPA names 45 candidates". Fiji One. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  15. ^ "Big names set to take on Fiji regime at elections". Cook Islands News. 2014-06-16. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  16. ^ "Fiji's Sodelpa promises poverty relief in manifesto". Radio New Zealand International. 2014-07-22. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  17. ^ "2014 Election Results". Fiji Elections Office. Archived from the original on 2014-09-21. Retrieved 2014-09-23.
  18. ^ Nasik Swami (2014-09-24). "Ro Teimumu is Leader of the Opposition". Fiji Times. Archived from the original on 2014-09-24. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  19. ^ "Ro Teimumu to quit Fiji party leadership". RNZ International. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Sitiveni Rabuka wins leadership of Fiji's SODELPA". RNZ International. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Six political parties to contest Fijian elections". RNZ. 16 October 2018. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  22. ^ Vilimaina Naqelevuki (6 November 2018). "2018 General Election: SODELPA to bring back 1997 Constitution if it wins". Fiji Times. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  23. ^ "Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs restored in 100 days under SODELPA - Rabuka". RNZI. 19 October 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  24. ^ Talebula Kate (18 November 2018). "2018 General Election: SODELPA secures 21 seats". Fiji Times. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  25. ^ "SODELPA suspended for 60 days for breach". FBC. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  26. ^ "Suspension of main opposition party Sodelpa lifted in Fiji". RNZ. 29 June 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020.