Coups, constitution-making, unmaking, and remaking in Fiji: Competing visions of citizenship | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2050-4039
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4047



This is a discussion of the major constitutional review of governance in the Fiji Islands conducted in 1995–1996 (the Reeves Report) that was aborted by the 2000 coup d’etat of George Speight. Political instability and dictatorship have ensued in Fiji (especially from 2006 with the Commodore Frank Bainimarama coup), but the Yash Ghai independent Constitution Commission (whose ideas have re-shaped a new transcultural future for Fiji) was clearly significantly inspired by the 1997 Constitution presented to President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara in 1996. This article was written a year before the promulgation of the new democratic document (2013) for Fijian elections in 2014 and it traces the core ideas contesting ethnocracy in the Reeves Report. The article explores the lengthy road of constitutional planning in the Fiji Islands from 1965 to 2013 and, through a focus on that nation’s most robust and modern constitution (its third) before 2012, points to the best way forward for a multi-ethnic republic in the country which hosts the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Brij Lal; constitution; coups; Fiji; Indianism; iTaukei; Salman Rushdie; Sitiveni Rabuka
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