Answer to Question #181359 in History for maureen

Question #181359

Do you think Fiji's 2014 Constitution is better than 1997 Constitution ?

Expert's answer

The 2014 constitution is a better document for Fiji compared to that of 1997 since it would promote ‘racial harmony and national unity and economic and social advancement of all communities, and bearing in mind internationally recognised principles and standards of individual and groups rights’. The 2014 constitution ensures that the two communities should be equally represented in state institutions. The 1997 constitution did not go so far, but had three key elements that moved away from radical communalism. First, the legislature retained a strong communal bias. While the House included 25 open seats, the remaining seats were elected by communities: 23 Taukei, 19 Indo-Fijian and 3 ‘general’. The Senate also remained dominated by Taukei members. Secondly, the executive was made subject to communal power sharing with cabinet ministries allocated in proportion to the number of seats a party held in the House. Thirdly, the constitution introduced a strong bill of rights for all citizens, as well as retaining specific protections for Taukei land and custom.

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