It’s been a time of significant change in Fiji following the country’s December 2022 election. A close vote was followed by the formation of a new coalition government. Frank Bainimarama was out as prime minister after 16 years, replaced by Sitiveni Rabuka.
Rabuka was hardly a new face, having been prime minister in the 1990s, and both Bainimarama and Rabuka had previously led military coups. For Fiji’s civil society, the question was whether this political shift would bring improvements in civic and democratic freedoms. Bainimarama’s government had shown itself increasingly intolerant of dissent.
People who criticised the government were subjected to harassment and arrest. In July 2021, nine opposition politicians were arrested, questioned and accused of inciting unrest. In 2020, opposition party offices were raided by police in response to social media posts critical of the government.
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