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Bainimarama sworn in as Fiji’s elected PM after 8 years in control

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Voreqe Bainimarama being sworn in today as Prime Minister of Fiji by the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. Image: Minfo

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Priya Chand in Suva and the Pacific Scoop news desk

The leader of the Fiji First Party, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, was sworn in today as Prime Minister of Fiji.

pacificfijielections logo 200wideBainimarama took the oath of office of Prime Minister, promising to “be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Republic of Fiji”, and to defend the Constitution and obey the laws of Fiji.

The Prime Minister, who seized power in a coup almost 8 years ago in December 2006, was sworn in by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau in the presence of Bainimarama’s wife, Mary, his children, and grandchildren, and dignitaries.

Bainimarama will leave for the United Nations in New York to address the General Assembly before returning to Fiji to form his cabinet.

In a media conference this afternoon, the opposition Social Democratic and Liberal Party (SODELPA) leader, Ro Temumu Kepa, gave her sincere thanks to the people of Fiji for casting their votes and making their voices heard.

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SODELPA leader Ro Temumu Kepa …. criticised “rewarding wrongdoers”. Image: Republika

She said SODELPA would proudly take up its position in the opposition and ensure accountability and transparency.

She told the nation that SODELPA would mount a “formidable opposition” and called for the steadfast support of the people.

‘Legitimising coups’
But Ro Temumu added it was difficult for the party to comprehend that the majority of citizens chose to “legitimise coups and reward the wrongdoers”.

The National Federation Party (NFP), making a return to the Fiji Parliament after an absence of 15 years by winning three seats, also thanked voters.

“After almost 8 years of military rule, democracy has returned to Fiji,” said leader Dr Biman Prasad, who gain the fourth highest personal vote tally.

He spoke about alleged irregularities in polling that the party had complained about.

“Nevertheless, people of Fiji have elected a government for the next four years. We respect the verdict of the people and wish Mr Voreqe Bainimarama and his government well for the next four years,” Dr Prasad said.

“We expect nothing short of a transparent and accountable government and we will hold the new government to this principle.”

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully has congratulated Bainimarama on being sworn in as Fiji’s Prime Minister.

“Last week Fiji held their first democratic election in eight years and the Multinational Observer Group has stated it is satisfied the election was credible, and broadly representative of the will of the Fijian people,” he said.

“The election process has been a significant step for Fiji, and for New Zealand’s relationship with Fiji.”

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The final official national voting tally.