FEATURE: Frank Bainimarama on Pacific Beat


Since taking power in 2006, Commodore Frank Bainimarama has faced international questions and condemnation over his country’s timeline for holding elections and returning to democratic rule.

A January meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum called on Fiji’s military-backed interim government to set an election date by May 1 or face suspension from the forum, which would result in the country losing all financial and technical aid provided by the forum.

Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand have continued to enforce travel bans against members of the Fiji government, in protest against the December 2006 coup which ousted the former prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.

In this wide-ranging interview with Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program, Commodore Bainimarama criticises the role of Australia and New Zealand within the Pacific Island Forum, insists Fiji will return to democracy but in it’s own time, singles Samoa out for criticism, and explains why he had the Qarase government removed in December 2006.