We will need to review the 2013 Constitution to ensure that no community is denied fair representation because we have seen the outcome of the 2022 general elections where certain minority communities have been denied representation in parliament.
This has been highlighted by former Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office and University of Fiji’s Public Law and International Relations and Diplomacy lecturer, Jioji Kotobalavu while speaking during a symposium on Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna.
Kotobalavu says he believes that in any future review of the 2013 Constitution we should consider whether we should fundamentally change the system of electing representatives.
He says by doing away from the single constituency system, we do away with the evil 5 percent threshold which will be good for independent and small parties.
He believes that on that basis Ratu Sukuna’s 3-legged stool approach still has relevance in the sense that he looked at good governance and fair representation.
Kotobalavu says Ratu Sukuna’s belief was that those in charge of Fiji should always be conscious that the country was populated by the three main communities of Fijians, Europeans and Indians and the purpose of governing was to serve the best interests of all.
Kotobalavu further says with the progressive decline in the Indo-Fijian population, the numbers of the Indo-Fijian Members of Parliament will continue to decline.
He says in the 2022 elections under the 2013 Constitution, representation in the parliament by the ethnic minority communities of Rotumans, Europeans, Part Europeans, Chinese and others has been totally eliminated and the number of Indo-Fijian members has remained between 16 and 19.
Kotobalavu says the biggest gainers are the iTaukei as their numbers in the House of Representatives have increased from 34 in 2014 to 36 in 2022.
He says in the long term, this could lead to a system of government dominated by a single ethnic community so the question is that is it good for all of us.
Kotobalavu asks will the minority community who fail to secure representation still have confidence and security.
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