Elections will bring a return to confidence

With the successful completion of last month’s election process, Fijians have hit the reset button on their polity. They have elected their first democratic government in as many as eight years. International observers who were in the country to oversee the electoral process have overwhelmingly opined that the election was credible and have put to bed any serious misgivings arising from the accusations of malpractice from a section of contesting political parties.

The road of Fiji’s economic progress since independence over four decades ago has been rocky, punctuated with speed bumps and roadblocks every so often. But despite all these periodic political upheavals, Fiji, its people and its economy have always held out promise to the outside world. This has helped it progress better than many other of its sister island countries in the region. Periodic coups certainly have applied the brakes on the country’s economic progress now and then but it has never ground to a complete halt unlike many places in other parts of the world that have been through similar circumstances.

Nor has the law and order situation in the country ever spiralled out of control in all these decades, which is a testament to the friendliness of the largely peaceable Fijian people, for which they are renowned the world over. Of course there have been an incident or two like the 56-day occupation of the parliament by a failed coup leader and the gunning down of armed forces personnel, but none of them have led to situations that could lead to long term turmoil.

Fiji has repeatedly shown the determination and uncanny ability to bounce back to a semblance of normality after every political upheaval. Despite all the tough posturing from the Australia and New Zealand governments since the December 2006 action and despite all the travel advisories and warnings, common folk from those two countries have continued to throng the alluring and welcoming shores of Fiji in ever larger numbers. That indeed is Fiji’s – and its people’s – goodwill as the world’s friendliest nation, a sobriquet it deservedly earned many decades ago.

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We Say is compiled and edited with the oversight of Samisoni Pareti.

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