Fiji the Republic of Fiji, is an island country in Melanesia, part of Oceania in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand's North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the west, New Caledonia to the southwest, New Zealand's Kermadec Islands to the southeast, Tonga to the east, the Samoas and France's Wallis and Futuna to the northeast, Tuvalu to the north. Fiji consists of an archipelago of more than 330 islands—of which 110 are permanently inhabited—and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of about 18,300 square kilometres; the most outlying island is Ono-i-Lau. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the total population of 898,760; the capital, Suva, on Viti Levu, serves as the country's principal cruise-ship port. About three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu's coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centres such as Nadi—where tourism is the major local industry—or Lautoka, where the sugar-cane industry is paramount.
Due to its terrain, the interior of Viti Levu is sparsely inhabited. The majority of Fiji's islands formed through volcanic activity starting around 150 million years ago; some geothermal activity still occurs today, on the islands of Vanua Taveuni. The geothermal systems on Viti Levu are non-volcanic in origin, with low-temperature surface discharges. Sabeto Hot Springs near Nadi is a good example. Humans have lived in Fiji since the second millennium BC—first Austronesians and Melanesians, with some Polynesian influences. Europeans visited Fiji from the 17th century onwards, after a brief period as an independent kingdom, the British established the Colony of Fiji in 1874. Fiji operated as a Crown colony until 1970. A military government declared a Republic in 1987 following a series of coups d'état. In a coup in 2006, Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power; when the High Court ruled the military leadership unlawful in 2009, President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, whom the military had retained as the nominal Head of State, formally abrogated the 1997 Constitution and re-appointed Bainimarama as interim Prime Minister.
In 2009, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau succeeded Iloilo as President. After years of delays, a democratic election took place on 17 September 2014. Bainimarama's FijiFirst party won 59.2% of the vote, international observers deemed the election credible. Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific thanks to its abundant forest and fish resources, its currency is the Fijian dollar, its main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry, remittances from Fijians working, bottled water exports. The Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development supervises Fiji's local government, which takes the form of city and town councils. Fiji's main island is known as Viti Levu and it is from this that the name "Fiji" is derived, though the common English pronunciation is based on that of their island neighbours in Tonga, its emergence can be described as follows: Fijians first impressed themselves on European consciousness through the writings of the members of the expeditions of Cook who met them in Tonga.
They were described as formidable warriors and ferocious cannibals, builders of the finest vessels in the Pacific, but not great sailors. They inspired awe amongst the Tongans, all their Manufactures bark cloth and clubs, were valued and much in demand, they called their home Viti, but the Tongans called it Fisi, it was by this foreign pronunciation, first promulgated by Captain James Cook, that these islands are now known. "Feejee", the Anglicised spelling of the Tongan pronunciation, was used in accounts and other writings until the late 19th century, by missionaries and other travellers visiting Fiji. Located in the central Pacific Ocean, Fiji's geography has made it both a destination and a crossroads for migrations for many centuries. According to oral tradition, the indigenous Fijians of today are descendants of the chief Lutunasobasoba and those who arrived with him on the Kaunitoni canoe. Landing at what is now Vuda, the settlers moved inland to the Nakauvadra mountains. Though this oral tradition has not been independently substantiated, the Fijian government promotes it, many tribes today claim to be descended from the children of Lutunasobasoba.
Pottery art from Fijian towns shows that Fiji was settled by Austronesian peoples before or around 3500 to 1000 BC, with Melanesians following around a thousand years although the question of Pacific migration still lingers. It is believed that the Lapita people or the ancestors of the Polynesians settled the islands first but not much is known of what became of them after the Melanesians arrived. Archeological evidence shows signs of settlement on Moturiki Island from 600 BC and as far back as 900 BC. Aspects of Fijian culture are similar to the Melanesian culture of the western Pacific but have a stronger connection to the older Polynesian cultures. Trade between Fiji and neighbouring archipelagos long before European contact is testified by the canoes made from native Fijian trees found in Tonga and Tongan words being part of the language of the Lau group of islands. Pots made in Fiji have been found in Samoa and the Marquesas Islands. In the 10th century, the Tu'i Tonga Empire was established in Tonga, Fiji came within its sphere of influence.
The Tongan influence brought Polynesian cu
President of Fiji
The President of the Republic of Fiji is the Head of State of Fiji. The President is appointed by the Parliament of Fiji for a three-year term under the terms of the 2013 Constitution of Fiji. Although not a figurehead, the President's role in government is ceremonial, but there are important reserve powers that may be exercised in the event of a crisis. In addition, the President is Commander-in-Chief of the Military Forces; the office of President was established following two military coups in 1987 that led to the proclamation of a republic on 7 October, ending the Fijian monarchy. Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka, who had masterminded the coups, formed an Interim Military Government with himself as its head, he did not, take the title of President, on 5 December appointed Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, the last Governor-General, as the first President of the republic. A civilian putsch instigated by George Speight led to another constitutional upheaval in 2000. President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara resigned on 29 May rather than abrogate the Constitution, as the military, supported by the Supreme Court, had asked..
Commodore Frank Bainimarama took power as Head of the Interim Military Government, until Ratu Josefa Iloilo was appointed President on 13 July. On 5 December 2006, the military forces again overthrew the government. Bainimarama declared himself Acting President. Iloilo was re-instated as President on 4 January 2007. In January 2008, Bainimarama stated that the military was "the executive authority in the appointment of the President", following the suspension of the Great Council of Chiefs; the President would be a military appointee. A few days Citizens Constitutional Forum director Reverend Akuila Yabaki suggested that the position of President should, in future, be open to persons of any ethnicity, rather than reserved for indigenous Fijians; this suggestion was controversial, was notably opposed by deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. A Rewa chief, Ro Filipe Tuisawau opposed the idea, stated his view on the function of the presidency: "The position of the president symbolises unity of both traditional structures of leadership which existed before parliamentary rule was established and the current Westminster system of parliament.
This is where the Western system meets our traditional vanua system and we acknowledge the indigenous leadership that has evolved and catered for all races in our multicultural society. By nominating the President the nation is acknowledging the role our chiefs have played in society and I think the Fijian people would appreciate that the status quo stay."On 28 July 2009, Iloilo announced that he would be leaving office on 30 July. Brigadier-General Ratu Epeli Nailatikau succeeded him as acting President. On 5 November 2009, Nailatikau was sworn in as President. In March 2012, the Bainimarama government disestablished the Great Council of Chiefs by decree. Bainimarama confirmed. On 12 October 2015, the Parliament elected Major-General George Konrote as President, he was sworn in on 12 November 2015. List of Heads of State of Fiji Prime Minister of Fiji Notes Footnotes
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Fiji)
The Minister for Foreign Affairs is Fiji's Cabinet Minister responsible for foreign relations and diplomacy and oversees its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Since two military coups in 1987 harmed Fiji's relationship with other countries, with two more coups in 2000 and 2006 the Foreign Minister's position has been a important one. Like other ministers, the Foreign Minister is formally appointed by the President on the nomination of the Prime Minister, is responsible to both the Prime Minister and the Parliament; the position may be in conjunction with other ministerial responsibilities. From time to time, the Prime Minister has served as Foreign Minister. Along with all ministers, the Foreign Minister is constitutionally required to be a member of the Parliament. Political parties Alliance Party Fiji Labour Party Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua FijiFirstOther factions Military Independent The following is a list of Foreign Ministers of Fiji since the country gained independence in 1970
Visa policy of Fiji
Visitors to Fiji must obtain a visa from one of the Fijian diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the 107 visa exempt countries. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months. Citizens of the following 107 countries and territories do not require a visa for Fiji for visits up to 4 months, they are issued with Visitor Permits on arrival for stays not exceeding 4 months, which may be extended on application for up to two months at a time for an aggregate of six months. Mutual visa-free agreements were signed with Croatia in February 2019 and Georgia in March 2019 and are yet to be ratified. Most visitors arriving to Fiji were from the following countries of nationality: Visa requirements for Fijian citizens
Jioji Konousi "George" Konrote, OF, MC is a Fijian politician and retired Major-General of the Fiji Military, President of Fiji since 2015. After commanding a peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, Konrote served as Fiji's High Commissioner to Australia from 2001 to 2006, as Minister of State for Immigration in 2006, as Minister for Employment Opportunities and Industrial Relations from 2014 to 2015, he is the first non-iTaukei president and the first Seventh-day Adventist to be elected by parliament, as previous presidents were selected by the Great Council of Chiefs. Konrote is a native of the island of Rotuma, his days as a pupil at Natabua High School in Lautoka, are described in the prize-winning book on Fiji Kava in the Blood by Peter Thomson. A career soldier, Konrote enlisted into the RFMF in 1966 and trained with New Zealand and Australian defence forces, studying at institutions such as the Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies and the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2000.
Rising through the ranks of the Fiji Military, he commanded battalions of Fijian soldiers in their peacekeeping efforts in Lebanon during the Fiji's UNIFIL campaign, was subsequently appointed Deputy Force Commander of the UNIFIL operation, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Force Commander in Lebanon. In recognition of his contributions in these fields, Konrote was awarded the UNIFIL Peace Medal, the Military Cross, the Order of Merit, the Order of the Cedar and was made an Officer of the Order of Fiji in 1997. From 2001 to 2006, Konrote served as Fiji's High Commissioner to Australia. After his appointment, equivalent to that of an ambassador, expired at the end of March 2006, he was elected to represent the Rotuman Communal Constituency in the 2006 election, he was subsequently appointed as Minister of State for Immigration and Ex-Servicemen in the Cabinet of Laisenia Qarase, his role in this portfolio abruptly ended when the government was deposed in a military coup led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama on 5 December 2006.
Despite serving in the Qarase government, Konrote became a candidate for Bainimarama's party, FijiFirst, in the 2014 election, winning 1,585 votes. He was subsequently appointed as Minister for Employment Opportunities and Industrial Relations in September 2014. On 12 October 2015, Konrote resigned from Parliament after being elected as President of Fiji, he was sworn in on 12 November 2015. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ate at the State dinner at the GPH with Parliament Speaker Dr. Jiko Luveni, President Jioji Konrote and First Lady Sarote, on 23 October 2018
Governor of Fiji
Fiji was a British Crown Colony from 1874 to 1970, an independent Dominion in the Commonwealth from 1970 to 1987. During this period, the Head of State was the British Monarch, but in practice his or her functions were exercised locally by the Governor prior to independence, by the Governor-General prior to the proclamation of a republic on 7 October 1987. Note that from 1877 to 3 July 1952, Governors of Fiji were High Commissioners for the Western Pacific. In 1970, Fiji gained independence from the United Kingdom. After independence, the Viceroy in Fiji was the Governor-General of Fiji. Governor-General of Fiji List of Heads of State of Fiji
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, is a Fijian politician and a Cabinet Minister. He is the Fijian Attorney-General and the Minister for Economy, Civil Service and Communications, serves the Minister responsible for climate change. Prior to his appointment as a Cabinet Minister following FijiFirst's general election victory in September 2014, he was the Fijian Attorney-General and the Minister for Justice, Anti-Corruption, Public Enterprises, Civil Aviation, the Minister responsible for Elections under the Bainimarama Government. According to The Economist, the daily functioning of the Fijian government is run by Sayed-Khaiyum, he is the General Secretary of the FijiFirst party. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum serves as the Fijian Governor in the Asian Development Bank and has been the ADB Chair of the Board of Governors since 2018. Sayed-Khaiyum was born and raised in Suva, was educated at Marist Brothers High School, he has a master's degree in law from the University of Hong Kong, a bachelor's degree in law from the University of New South Wales, a graduate diploma in legal practice from the University of Wollongong, a bachelor's degree in political science from the Australian National University.
He was a former senior legal officer in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Sayed-Khaiyum was the General Manager Legal and Compliance and was the Company Secretary in the Colonial Group of Companies for five years prior to his appointment in the Interim Government by the President of Fiji, he worked with the law firm of Minter Ellison in Sydney. He was on the board of Transparency International Fiji and has been President of the Fiji Young Lawyers Association. Sayed-Khaiyum was appointed to the interim government of Frank Bainimarama after the 2006 Fijian coup d'état as Interim Attorney-General and Justice Minister; the 2006 coup has been described by some political historians as a final intervention intended to unite the country and forever put an end to the nation's spate of ethno-nationalist military takeovers. When Bainimarama formed the FijiFirst Party, Sayed-Khaiyum was appointed its general secretary. Sayed-Khaiyum contested the 2014 election as a member of the FijiFirst Party, winning 13,753 votes, the third-highest polling candidate.
He contested the 2018 Fijian general election as a member of the FijiFirst Party winning 17,271 votes, again placing as the third-highest polling candidate. As the Minister for Economy, he raised the income tax threshold from $16,000 to $30,000 and has progressively increased Fiji's minimum wage. Fiji is experiencing its lowest unemployment rate in 15 years, the country's economy has recorded an unprecedented nine consecutive years of growth; as Minister responsible for climate change and the leader of Fiji's COP23 delegation, the Attorney-General is a global proponent of climate adaptation and increasing access to climate finance, is working with governments, multilateral organisations and development banks to allow countries such as Fiji to obtain adequate levels of funding -- on the basis of vulnerability -- to build their resilience to climate change. At the COP23 negotiations, where Fiji served as president, parties agreed that the Adaptation Fund would serve the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Fund was replenished with an impressive total of US $93.3 million.
In Fiji, Sayed-Khaiyum spearheaded the creation of the climate change division in the Ministry of Economy to mainstream the critical issue in national planning and public financing decisions, making Fiji one of the few countries in the world where climate change sits with the ministry responsible for finance. He has established a working group in the Office of the Attorney-General to examine peripheral legal issues related to climate change. During his tenure as Minister for Communications, Fiji has experienced a boom in access to high speed internet services and Free-to-Air digital television, now available all throughout the geographically-remote nation. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is the son of former MP Sayed Abdul Khaiyum, the brother of former Fiji TV journalist and current Fiji Broadcasting Corporation CEO Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. In 2011 he married to Ela Gavoka, the daughter of the MP Viliame Gavoka, they have two sons and a daughter together, he is a member of the Muslim community of Fiji