Sitiveni Rabuka confirmed as new Fiji PM: Parliament
Sitiveni Rabuka narrowly triumphs over Frank Bainimarama in a secret ballot held in parliament, becoming Fiji's new PM.
Former military General Sitiveni Rabuka was on Saturday confirmed as Fiji's Prime Minister, replacing Frank Bainimarama, who toppled the government in a 2006 military coup and became the country's prime minister a year later.
Rabuka, 74, said he felt "humbled" to be prime minister as he made his way out of parliament to be sworn in by the country's President.
The two-time coup leader and former Prime Minister narrowly triumphed over Bainimarama by 28 votes to 27 in a secret ballot held in parliament, speaker Naiqama Lalabalavu announced.
European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, Sujiro Seam, tweeted his congratulations to Rabuka shortly after the announcement.
Yesterday, reports revealed that the military had been deployed on the streets of the capital Suva, as Rabuka and Bainimarama raced to form together a coalition government following a deadlocked general election. Citing reports of ethnic violence, Bainimarama said the military was needed to maintain "law and order."
Rabuka -- who served as Prime Minister between 1992 and 1999 -- claimed that the government was "sowing fear and chaos" and "trying to set the nation alight along racial lines."
While Bainimarama has maintained close ties with Beijing, Rabuka has expressed a desire to loosen Fiji's ties with China.
The new Prime Minister ensured a coalition deal to form a government on Friday afternoon, after successfully gaining support from the SODELPA party.
SODELPA had earlier chosen Rabuka's People's Alliance over Bainimarama's Fiji First, but that vote was ruled invalid by the country's election supervisor.
Fiji has been upended by four coups in the past 35 years.