The Republic of Fiji (Fij. Matanitu Tu-Vaka-i-koya ko Viti, Fij. Hindi Fidźi Ganaradźja) is an independent state in Oceania in the east of Melanesia. Located in the Fiji archipelago in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, north of New Zealand, east of Vanuatu, south of Tuvalu and west of Tonga.
The modern name of the state - "Fiji" - comes from the distorted name
of the main island of the country, Viti Levu, namely, its Tongan
pronunciation. The inhabitants of the islands of Tonga have had close
ties with the Fijians since ancient times, who were considered brave
warriors and cruel cannibals in the region, and their weapons and other
products were in great demand. The Fijians called their homeland Viti
(Fij. Viti), but the Tongans pronounced it as Fisi (Tong. Fisi).
Subsequently, this word was distorted by Europeans, namely, by the
British navigator James Cook, who first mapped the modern name of the
islands - "Fiji".
Physical and geographical characteristics
The Melanesian state of Fiji is a cluster of volcanic and coral islands located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country's capital, Suva, is located about 1,770 km north of New Zealand and about 4,450 km southwest of the US state of Hawaii. The nearest archipelagos are the Futuna (Horn) Islands, which belong to the French territory of Wallis and Futuna and are located northeast of the Fiji Islands, the Tonga Islands, which lie to the east and belong to the state of the same name, and the New Hebrides, located to the west and belong to Vanuatu.
The total area of Fiji is 18,274 km². The country is located on 332 islands, of which only a third are inhabited. The largest of them are the islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, whose area is respectively 10,429 km² and 5556 km². About 70% of the country's population lives on the island of Viti Levu. It contains the three largest cities of Fiji (Suva, Nandi and Lautoka), as well as the main airport. Other large islands are Taveuni (470 km²), Kandavu (411 km²), Ngau (140 km²) and Koro (104 km²). Most of the islands of Fiji are grouped into island groups, the largest of which are the islands of Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Kandavu, Lomaivici, Yasawa, Mamanuta, Lau and Moala. The country also includes the island of Rotuma (43 km²), located about 650 km northwest of the city of Suva. From the northwest to the southeast, the Fiji Islands stretch for 595 km (not including the island of Rotuma), and from the northeast to the southwest - for 454 km. The highest point of the country, Mount Tomanivi, reaches 1324 m and is located on the island of Viti Levu.
The northernmost island of Fiji is the island of Uea, which is part of the Rotuma island group, the westernmost and at the same time the southernmost is the Tevaira reef, and the easternmost is Vatoa.
The Fiji Islands are located in the middle between the Tonga-Kermadec
and New Hebrides convergence zones, from which they are separated by two
vast back-arc basins - the North Fiji Basin in the west and the Lau
Basin in the east, as well as a whole group of transform faults,
including the Fiji fault zone and the ridge Matthew Hunter. Based on the
study of the tectonics and structure of the Pacific Ocean, it can be
assumed that in the relatively recent past, Fiji was an integral part of
the Pacific volcanic ring of fire.
In general, the history of geological processes in the Fiji region remains rather poorly understood due to the numerous difficulties that arise in the study of these processes. Until recently, it was believed that the Fiji Islands arose in a small area of the continental crust, located in the northeastern part of the Australian Plate, where the Vityaz Trench forms a subduction zone, and the Pacific Plate moves under the continental plate. According to earlier studies, the archipelago was formed about 50 million years ago as a result of volcanic processes, during which oceanic rocks (ophiolites) mixed with continental rocks. However, according to more recent studies, the Fiji Islands formed about 48-40 Ma ago on the Pacific Plate, on the eastern margin of the outer island-arc system, slightly south of Ontong Java. However, during that historical period, the Fiji Islands were located in a different area of the Pacific Ocean. Thus, according to Crook and Belbin, Fiji is part of the Vanuatu-Fiji-Lau-Tonga underwater ridge, which during the early Eocene (about 50 million years ago) moved entirely eastward in several stages from its original location near the modern Norfolk Range. The main instrument of geological transformations in the region was the so-called spreading of the ocean floor, during which the submarine ridges and outer island arcs moved eastward, followed by the formation of oceanic depressions.
It is known that before the onset of the late Miocene, about 8 million years ago, the Pacific Plate moved westward. The modern islands of Fiji in this historical period were part of the Outer Melanesian island-arc system, the Vityaz arc, which also included the arcs of the Solomon Islands, the New Hebrides and Tonga. Traces of this subduction zone are preserved in the form of the Vityaz Trench, and the Eocene-Miocene core of the ancient island-arc system forms part of the geological basement of the islands of Tonga (Eua), Fiji (Viti Levu) and Vanuatu. Subduction along the Vityaz trough system was partially blocked as a result of a slight stratification of oceanic crust (Ontong-Java Plateau) in some areas of the trough along the Solomon Islands and the northern part of the New Hebrides. Subsequently, subduction in this region completely ceased, and then resumed, but in a direction north and west with respect to the Fijian arc. As a result of the stress that arose due to the movement of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates against each other, in the area of the present-day Fiji Islands, the formation of the Fiji Fault Zone in the north and the Hunter Fault Zone in the south occurred. At the same time, the spreading of the ocean floor led to the divergence of the layers and the formation of the North Fijian depression and the Lau depression. Since then, there has been no volcanic activity in the area of the archipelago, which is now manifested in the area of the islands of Tonga and the New Hebrides. Nevertheless, geological changes in the Fiji region are still ongoing. Active spreading of the ocean floor to the east was noted in the Lau Basin, and to the west, in the North Fijian Basin.
The islands of Fiji are dominated by large mountainous islands that are predominantly of volcanic origin (for example, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu), numerous small volcanic islands, low-lying atolls and reefs protruding from the water. The geological structure of the islands of the archipelago is complex. Only the Yasawa Islands and the southern third of Viti Levu are of Eocene origin and consist of volcanic sedimentary, metamorphic, and plutono-intrusive rocks. The central western and southeastern parts of Viti Levu are composed of andesites of the Pliocene period, and the northern part is composed of basalt with an admixture of andesite of the Pleistocene period. Vanua Levu Island is composed of relatively young rocks of the Pliocene period, Kandavu - of andesitic volcanic rocks of the Late Pliocene, Taveuni - basalt volcanic rocks of the Pleistocene period.
Volcanic islands are usually characterized by extremely uneven
terrain and the presence of high mountains and rugged ridges of volcanic
origin. Thus, hilly areas, the slopes of which are at an angle of over
18 °, occupy 67% of the surface of Viti Levu, 72% of Vanua Levu, 49% of
Taveuni and 78% of Kandava. The largest mountain, Tomanivi, located on
the island of Viti Levu, reaches a height of 1322 m. In general, there
are 30 peaks in Fiji whose height exceeds 1000 m. The highest point of
the Yasawa Islands, located on the island of Naviti, reaches 388 m, and
the highest the point of the Lau Islands, which is located on the island
of Watu Vara, reaches 314 m.
Only a small number of the islands that make up Fiji belong to real atolls, such as Wailangi Lala and Ngelewu. At the same time, the so-called raised atolls, which do not have lagoons, are more widespread (these include the islands of Fulaga, Ongea and Kambara).
On the Fiji Islands there are deposits of copper, gold, lead, zinc
and a number of other metals. For example, as a result of studies
carried out in the early 1970s in the area of the cities of
Singatoka and Mba on the island of Viti Levu, deposits of iron sandstone
were discovered with an iron content of 57-58%, titanium oxide -
6.7-7.5%, vanadium (V) oxide - 0.7-0.1%, chromium (III) oxide -
Nevertheless, due to the unprofitability of their development, only gold and silver associated with it are currently mined from metals in the country. Gold has been mined and exported from the country since 1933. In addition, quarrystone and piece stone, phosphates, sand, gravel and cement raw materials stand out among other mineral resources (the only Portland cement plant in the country is located in Suva). The main components of local cement are carbonate (coral) and siliceous sand, which are mined in the coastal zone (carbonate sand - in Lautala Bay, as well as along the coast west of Suva; siliceous sand - the mouth of the Vunidava River, which flows into Lautala Bay). There are deposits of phosphorites on the Lau Islands, primarily on the island of Tuvut.
In addition to the mineral deposits on the Fiji Islands, there is a high probability of the presence of oil in the coastal regions of the country. As is known, the archipelago is part of the Southwest Pacific island-arc system, which is the boundary between the Australian and Pacific lithospheric plates. Within the boundaries of the territorial waters of Fiji, there are two shallow sedimentary basins of the Tertiary period, which have a huge potential for finding large oil deposits on their territory, the volume of which is estimated at 5.4-20 billion barrels.
The climate in the Fiji Islands is oceanic tropical. In the immediate
vicinity of the archipelago, to the northeast and southwest of it, is
the South Pacific Convergence Zone, which is characterized by a large
amount of precipitation in the form of rain. This zone has a significant
impact on inter-seasonal climate changes, primarily on the amount of
precipitation that falls on the islands. During the dry season, which
lasts from May to October, this convergence zone is usually located to
the northeast of Fiji, and during the rainy season from November to
April, it directly covers this region. Another important factor
influencing the precipitation regime is the southeast trade winds, which
bring moisture-saturated air to the Fiji Islands. On the large
mountainous islands, primarily Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, areas with high
rainfall (this is the southeast, or windward, side of the islands) and
areas with a more arid climate (this is the western, or leeward side)
are clearly distinguished. For example, on the east coast of Viti Levu,
where the city of Suva is located, the average annual rainfall varies
from 3000 to 5000 mm, while in the western part, where the cities of
Mba, Lautoka, Nandi and Singatoka are located, it falls from 2000 to
3000 mm annually. . The main cause of droughts in the Fiji Islands is
the El Niño phenomenon. As a rule, the driest and warmest conditions
during this event are observed from December to February, and the driest
and coolest from June to August. At the same time, the western regions
of Fiji are most affected by the drought.
The average daily temperature fluctuates depending on the season. During the dry season, it varies from +23 to +25 °C, and during the rainy season - from +26 to +27 °C. In general, temperatures in the coldest (July-August) and warmest months (January-February) vary from +3 to +4 °C. This is explained by the strong influence of the ocean. Near the coast, the average nighttime temperature can drop to +18 °C, while the daytime temperature, on the contrary, can rise to +32 °C. In the interior of the islands, nighttime temperatures can drop as low as +15°C, although the minimum temperature ever recorded in Fiji is +8°C and the maximum is +39.4°C. The prevailing winds in the country are the trade winds blowing from the east and southeast. On the coast of the two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, breezes are considered a common occurrence. The wind speed is usually low. Strong gusts are recorded only from June to November.
Fiji is subject to the negative effects of tropical cyclones, which often reach destructive force, causing powerful floods and landslides. The greatest number of cyclones is usually recorded from November to April, with the most destructive occurring in January-February. In general, within a decade, Fiji is hit by ten to fifteen cyclones, of which two to four cause serious damage.
Most of the soils on the Fiji Islands are of volcanic origin, which explains their high fertility. At the same time, some of them have admixtures of corals and other sediments, and alluvial plains with allochthonous soils are located along the rivers. Lowland soils, characteristic of beaches, sea marches, plains and peneplains, are formed from relatively young and weathered volcanic materials and volcanic ash applied over coral limestone, limestone tuff and clay. The soils of the uplands (over 600 m) consist mainly of poor alluvial deposits, volcanic materials, and basic rocks. Pasture soils tend to be low in sodium, phosphorus, sulfur and potassium. The most fertile soils in Fiji are located in the floodplains of rivers such as the Singatoka, Rewa, Nandi, Mba, Navua and Lambasa.
Most of the Fiji Islands have a limited number of permanent sources
of fresh water. Therefore, due to the fact that water does not stay in
the soil for a long time due to its porosity, residents mainly use
either rainwater collected in concrete tanks from the roofs, or water
from small wells, thanks to which it is possible to reach small lenses
of slightly brackish water.
Nevertheless, on large volcanic islands there are numerous rivers and streams, and on the island of Viti Levu there are even full-flowing rivers. Approximately 70% of the area of this island are the basins of the country's three largest river systems - Rewa, Navua and Singatoka, which flow into the sea in the southern part of Viti Levu. The largest river in the country, the Reva, reaches a length of 145 km (of which about 100 km are navigable), and the area of bits river basin is about 3000 km². However, from an economic point of view, the Mba and Nandi rivers are of the greatest value. The rivers of Vanua Levu, as a rule, are not very long. The exception is the Dreketi River, the length of which reaches 55 km.
Lakes are a rarity in the Fiji Islands. Several small reservoirs are mainly concentrated in mountainous areas. The largest of the lakes, Tangimautia (Fij. Tagimaucia), is located on the island of Taveuni. Its area is only 23 hectares. Other notable lakes (usually brackish or salt water) are Ngalongalo, Ngasauwa, and Ndrano on Vanua Levu.
Due to the different geological structure of the islands,
their large number, different climatic conditions and the isolation of
some islands of the archipelago, Fiji's ecosystems are very diverse.
Most of the islands of Fiji are covered with dense vegetation. In
coastal areas there are mangroves, numerous reef formations. Tropical
rainforests and savannahs are represented. Based on the floristic
division of the land, the local flora is part of the Fijian region of
the Indo-Malesian sub-kingdom of the Paleotropic floristic kingdom.
Thus, about 90% of all seed plants are also found on the island of New
Guinea. In addition, there are also plant species native to Australia,
the Hawaiian Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand and French Polynesia.
The total area of mangroves in the country is estimated at 42,000 hectares. Most of them are located either in the deltas of Fiji's largest rivers, such as the Mba, Rewa, Nandi and Lambasa, or on the leeward side of islands protected by barrier reefs. No endemic plant species have been recorded in the mangroves. The greatest biodiversity is found in tropical rainforests, which are found on the windward side of the large islands of the archipelago.
In total, about 2,600 species of vascular plants have been found on the Fiji Islands, of which about 1,600 are native species and about 1,000 species have been introduced by humans. Of these, about 310 species are represented by fern-like plants and 2225 species by seed plants. The proportion of endemic species is relatively high: they make up about 63% of indigenous plants. Completely endemic include plants of the Degeneriaceae family, as well as 11 of the approximately 450-470 plant genera.
The fauna of the country is relatively poor and is represented mainly by introduced species. The world of insects is very diverse. In total, according to various estimates, up to 3500 species of insects live on the archipelago, of which about 400 species belong to Lepidoptera, of which seven genera are endemic. In addition, 15 species of cicadas are found in Fiji, of which 14 species are endemic, and 33 species of dragonflies, of which 22 species are endemic. In Fiji, 187 ant species (out of 43 genera) have been found, including 70% of endemics (Strumigenys chernovi and others).
Of greatest interest is the local avifauna, represented by 55 species of terrestrial birds nesting on the islands (of which 24 species are endemic) and a large number of species of migratory birds. Of the reptiles, there are three species of snakes (one is endemic), four species of endemic Fijian iguanas, 10 species of geckos (two species are endemic), 12 species of skinks (five species are endemic). Six species of bats are the only indigenous mammals of the Fiji Islands.
Sea turtles, mollusks, fish are found in coastal waters.
Fiji was settled approximately 3,500 years ago by several groups of
migrants from central Vanuatu. By the time the Europeans appeared in
Fiji, the local population was at the stage of decomposition of the
primitive communal system. There were inter-tribal wars.
The Fiji archipelago was discovered in 1642 by the Dutch navigator A. Tasman, but more than a century and a half passed before the first Europeans settled on these islands. At first they were runaway convicts, merchants, sailors from wrecked ships. Then the missionaries came. Since the 1860s, Europeans began to organize cotton plantations in Fiji, and since the 1870s, cotton was replaced by sugar cane due to falling cotton prices on the world market.
The founding father of the Fijian statehood is considered to be Takombau (full name - Ratu Seru Epenisa Takombau), who was the man who started the Fijian path from ancient times to the present. In his youth, a former cannibal, Tacombau abandoned this practice by converting to Christianity. He founded the first parliament in the modern sense of the word in the country united by him, as well as an administration in the English manner. Between 1871 and 1874, Tacombau was the first king of an independent and unified Fiji. But in 1874 he abdicated in favor of the British Queen Victoria to enable the British to resolve economic and social problems in Fiji, in particular the desire of different regions for secession. Tacombau, after his abdication and until his death, remained one of the most respected people on the islands with the title of "supreme leader".
From 1879, in order to provide labor to the sugar plantations in Fiji, European planters began to hire workers from India. Although Indian immigration was stopped in 1916, the Indian population increased rapidly due to high natural growth, and by 1945 it already exceeded the number of Aborigines. In Fiji, as a result of the hybridization of Indian dialects, a new language has emerged - Fijian Hindi, which is common among migrants, but this language has not yet been officially recognized, and Hindustani is used instead in education and administration.
Fiji gained independence in 1970. Under the 1970 constitution, Fiji was a state within the Commonwealth. The head of state was the Queen of Great Britain, represented by a governor-general appointed by her. Legislative body - Parliament, consisted of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. Executive power was vested in the government headed by the prime minister. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987. Their reason was the dissatisfaction of the natives with the government, which was dominated by representatives of the Indian community. As a result of the last coup (September 1987), the constitution was abolished, the post of governor-general was abolished, and the country was proclaimed a republic. The president became the head of state. In October 1987, Fiji was expelled from the Commonwealth.
The 1990 constitution guaranteed Fijians control of Fiji but led to heavy emigration of Indians; this caused economic hardship, but provided the Melanesians with the largest share of the population.
The 1997 amendments made the constitution more equal in rights, the state returned to the Commonwealth of Nations. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a new government dominated by Indo-Fijians. It was overthrown a year later in a coup led by George Speight, a strong Fijian nationalist. The constitution that allowed ethnic Indians to hold the highest government positions was abolished. By mid-2000, democracy was restored and Laysenya Ngarase, who led the interim government, was elected prime minister. Despite the promised amnesty, Speight was soon accused of treason and sentenced to death, commuted to life imprisonment at the last moment.
The government of Laisenia Ngarase was repeatedly accused of corruption by the military leadership, which were ignored, and in December 2006 the prime minister was removed from office and placed under house arrest. The leader of the coup was Fiji's defense minister, Frank Mbainimarama, who became first interim president and then prime minister.
Administratively, the Republic of Fiji is divided into districts. In
total, the country has four districts and one dependent territory:
The districts, in turn, are divided into provinces (a total of 14 provinces): Kandavu, Lau, Lomaivici, Mba, Mbua, Matuata, Naitasiri, Namosi, Nandrong-Navosa, Ra, Rewa, Serua, Taileva and Takaudrove.
Rotuma Island, located north of the main archipelago, has the status of a dependent territory with some degree of internal autonomy.
A national census has been conducted in Fiji on a regular basis since
1891. Since then, a census has been conducted every ten years (the last
one took place in 2007).
According to the latest census in 2007 (data from the Fiji Department of Statistics), the population of the country was 837,271 people. By 2020, this figure has increased to 935,974 people. The population growth rate in Fiji is relatively low compared to other countries in Oceania: 0.5% according to 2020 estimates. The 2007 census showed an increase in the population of 0.7% compared with the 1996 census, that is, by 62,196 people.
Population counts and other statistics are collected by province. In 2007, the most populous province was Mba with a population of 231,760 (27.7%). 160,760 people (19.2%) lived in Naitasiri, 100,787 people (12%) in Rewa, 72,441 people (8.6%) in Matauta, 58,387 people (7%) in Nandrong Navosa, in Tailevu - 55,692 people (6.6%), in Takoundrov - 49,344 people (5.9%), in Ra - 29,464 people (3.5%), in Serua - 18,249 people (2.2% ), in Lomaivici - 16,461 people (2%), in Mbua - 14,176 people (1.7%), in Lau - 10,683 people (1.3%), in Kandavu - 10,167 people (1.2% ), in Namosi - 6898 people (0.8%), in Rotuma - 2002 people (0.3%).
According to the average forecast, the population of the country by 2100 will be 1.3 million people.
There are large diasporas of people from Fiji in New Zealand, Australia and the USA. In 2001, about 7,000 Fijians were registered in New Zealand (about 3% of the Oceanian peoples living in New Zealand). Most of them (57%) lived in the city of Auckland, 11% - in Wellington, 5% - in Christchurch. In Australia, 48,150 Fijians were registered in 2006 (in 2001 - 44,040 people), most of whom lived in the states of New South Wales (28,610 people, or 59.4%), Queensland (8,950 people, or 18.6 %) and Victoria (7910 people, or 16.4%). In addition, there is a large diaspora in the United States: in 2000 - 10,265 people, or 2.7% of the population of the peoples of Oceania living in the States.
In 2007, Fiji's urban population was 50.7% (or 424,846 people). The top five largest settlements in the country were: Nasinu (76,064 people), Suva (74,481 people), Lautoka (43,473 people), Nausori (24,919 people), Nandi (11,685 people). The most urbanized provinces were Mba, Naitasiri and Rewa, where the proportion of the urban population exceeded that of the rural population.
In 2007, men accounted for 51% (427,176 people), women - 49% (410,095 people). The share of children under 14 in 2020 is 26.86%; adult population from 15 to 64 years old - 65.81%; over 65 years old - 7.34%. According to a 2020 estimate, the median age for Fiji residents was 29.9 years. The average life expectancy for men, according to the 2020 estimate, is 71 years, for women - 76.6 years.
The population of Fiji is binational: according to the 2007 census,
almost 57% of the inhabitants (475,739 people) were Fijians,
representatives of the indigenous people of the archipelago, and 37.5%
(313,798 people) were Fijian-Indians. Other peoples: 1.2% (10,335
people) - rotuma, 1.8% (15,311 people) - people from other Pacific
islands, 1.3% (10,771 people) - descendants of mixed marriages with
Europeans, 0, 6% (4704 people) are Han Chinese.
Fiji Indians are the second most populous ethnic group in Fiji. In 2007, they were in the majority in the provinces of Mba (126,142) and Matauta (42,550). In all other provinces, the majority were Fijians (the exception is the island of Rotuma, where representatives of the indigenous population, the Rotumans, predominate). According to the 2012 census, the composition of the population has changed: the number of Fijians increased to 59.7% (511.8 thousand), and the Fijian-Indians decreased to 33.8% (290.1 thousand), others amounted to 6.5% ( 56.1 thousand). The Indian population in Fiji is declining due to emigration, mainly to Australia and New Zealand.
Languages: English and Fijian official, Fijian Hindi or "Hindustani"
is common among Indians - a language related to Hindi.
Religions: Christian 64.5% (Methodist 35%, Roman Catholic 9%, Congregation of God 6%, Seventh Day Adventist 4%, Other Christian 11%), Hindu 27.9%, Muslim 6% 3%, Sikhs - 0.3%, other and atheists - 1% (according to the 2007 census).
Fiji is a sovereign democratic state, according to the wording of the Fiji Constitution. During the existence of the independent state of Fiji, four constitutions were adopted.
The first of these entered into force in 1970 shortly after the islands gained independence. It established a monarchical form of government with the Westminster system of parliamentarism. The head of state was Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, who was represented in Fiji by the Governor General. Legislative power, according to the Constitution, was given to the Parliament of Fiji, which consisted of Her Majesty the Queen, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives consisted of 52 parliamentarians elected for five years. 22 seats were assigned to native Fijians, 22 seats were reserved for Fijian Indians, and the remaining 8 seats were reserved for representatives who did not belong to any of the above ethnic groups. In the Senate of Fiji, 22 deputies were appointed by the Governor General from among the members of Parliament for a term of six years, eight deputies by the Supreme Council of Elders of Fiji, seven deputies by the Prime Minister, six deputies by the leader of the opposition, one deputy by the Rotuma Island Council.
On May 14, 1987, Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rambuka carried out a coup d'état, as a result of which the current Constitution of 1970 was canceled and relations with the British monarchy were severed. On October 7, 1987, the military government proclaimed Fiji a republic. On July 25, 1990, the second Constitution of the country in the history of Fiji was adopted, according to which Fiji became a sovereign democratic republic, the head of which was proclaimed by the president. The new Constitution changed the composition of the Parliament: now it included the President of Fiji, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The size of the House of Representatives was increased to 70 people (excluding the speaker and his deputy). Indigenous Fijians were guaranteed a majority of seats in the Chamber. They were assigned 37 seats, 27 seats were assigned to Fiji-Indians, 1 seat was assigned to a representative of the island of Rotuma and 5 seats were assigned to representatives who did not belong to any of the above ethnic groups. The number of members of the Senate was also increased to 34 deputies. Of these, 24 were appointed by the President of Fiji with the approval of the Supreme Council of Elders, 1 was appointed with the approval of the Rotuma Island Council, and 9 were appointed by the President at his own discretion. In addition, the 1990 Constitution established a provision according to which the country's Constitution must be reviewed every ten years (the 1990 Constitution must be revised after seven years). As a result, in May 1995, the President of the country formed the Commission for the revision of the Constitution, which prepared a special report approved by the Single Special Commission of the Parliament (formed on September 10, 1996).
In 1997, on the basis of this report, a new Constitution of Fiji was adopted, which again made changes to the composition of the House of Representatives and the Senate. However, in April 2009, the 1997 Constitution was overturned by Fiji President Josefa Iloila after the Fiji Court of Appeal ruled that the 2006 coup d'état removed Laisenia Ngarase from the post of Prime Minister and appointed Frank Mbainimarama to succeed him. As a result, Iloilo dismissed all judges from their posts, reinstated Mbainimarama and his Cabinet of Ministers, and introduced a state of emergency in the country. According to the President, democratic parliamentary elections should be held no later than September 2014. On July 30, 2009 President Iloilo resigned. According to the 1997 Constitution, the President of the country must be appointed by the High Council of Elders, but this article was repealed by Prime Minister Mbainimarama, who stated that the appointment of the President of Fiji would be made by him and his Cabinet at a convenient time for the regime. As a result, Vice-President Yepeli Nailatikau, a former military leader, was appointed as the new President of the country.
In September 2013, the President of Fiji Epeli Nailatikau signed a
new, fourth in a row, Constitution of Fiji.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country in 2018 was classified on the Democracy Index as a hybrid regime.
head of state
Under the 1990 and 1997 Constitutions, the president was elected by the Grand Council of Chiefs for a five-year term. According to the new Constitution of 2013, he is elected at a meeting of the country's parliament. The role of the president in the political life of the country is mostly ceremonial, but he has a certain power, applicable in the event of a national crisis. Under the new Constitution, he is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Fiji Armed Forces.
The President formally appoints the Prime Minister, who must receive the support of a majority in the House of Representatives. In practice, this means that the leader of the largest political party or coalition usually becomes Prime Minister, making the President's role in the appointment little more than a mere formality. However, sometimes the Parliament cannot reach an agreement due to fragmentation. In such cases, the President assumes the role of arbiter and, after discussion with all political factions, must appoint as Prime Minister the person he thinks will be accepted by a majority of the members of the House of Representatives. When appointing the Prime Minister, the President formally appoints a Cabinet of ten to twenty-five ministers who represent the executive branch. According to the constitution, the Cabinet must reflect the political composition of the House of Representatives - each party with more than 8 seats in the House receives a seat in the Cabinet in proportion to the number of seats. In practice, however, this rule has never been strictly enforced.
Parliament is bicameral. The House of Representatives has 71 members. 25 of them are elected in general elections (every 5 years). The remaining 46 seats are reserved for the ethnic communities of Fiji and are elected from community candidates: 23 Fijians, 19 Indo-Fijians, 1 Rotumians and 3 general candidates (Europeans, Chinese and other minorities). The upper house of parliament, the Fiji Senate, has 32 members, formally appointed by the President on a nomination from the Grand Council of Chiefs (14), Prime Minister (9), Leader of the Opposition (8), and the Rotuma Island Council (1). The Senate has less power than the House of Representatives and cannot initiate laws, but has the power to reject or amend them.
Supreme Court. Judges are appointed by the President. The legal system is based on British law.
The Armed Forces consist of two components: ground forces (army) and naval forces. Compared to other countries in Oceania, Fiji has a fairly large ground force (6 infantry battalions that are part of the Fijian Infantry Regiment, as well as 1 sapper battalion, 1 logistics and 1 training group, in total - 3,500 people and another 6,000 reservists), and is an active participant in UN peacekeeping missions in various parts of the world. Participation in peacekeeping operations is one of the most important income of Fiji. Currently, 1 battalion is serving in East Timor, Iraq and Lebanon, 1 in the Sinai and 4 in Fiji (1 battalion in Suva, 3 others in different localities of the country). The Navy has 9 patrol boats, 2 support ships and a yacht used by the President. At this time, the Fiji armed forces do not have aviation.
Fiji's economy is based on agriculture, forestry, fishing, gold
mining and export, and tourism. Manufacturing industry: food, light
industry, handicrafts, etc.
Foreign trade of the country: export of sugar, textiles, gold, fish; import of manufactured goods, fuels, foodstuffs, chemicals.
According to the IMF, GDP per capita in 2014 was $8,236.
Yams, cassava and taro continue to be the mainstay of local cuisine,
especially in rural settings and on the outlying islands. Typical local
dishes include kakonda, or kokoda - local fish marinated in lime juice,
rourou - a kind of salad from taro leaves, cassava - fried or baked
tapioca with coconut milk, sugar and bananas (usually in the form of
mashed potatoes), duruka (boiled vegetable, similar to asparagus),
breadfruit in all forms, lovo - assorted meat, fish and various fruits,
fried in closed earthen hearths (which, in fact, are called lovo).
The national drink of Fiji is kava, which is called "yangona" or "yakona", a variant of the drink "kava". It is a non-alcoholic intoxicating drink made from intoxicating pepper, traditionally consumed in social circles. Pepper root was chewed and then infused in water.
The national sport is rugby-15, rugby league and rugby-7 are also developed. The Fiji national rugby team has been in the third five of the IRB world ranking for a long time and has been stable. In 2016, the Fiji team won the World Series of Rugby Sevens, as well as the gold of the Olympic Games in Rio, and this medal was the first for Fiji in the history of the Olympic Games.
January 1 - New Year.
February 6 - Birthday of the Prophet Mohammed
April - May - Good Friday and Easter.
End of May - Ratu Sukuna Day (celebrated annually on the last Monday of May).
May 4 is National Youth Day.
June 5 is the Queen's birthday.
October 10 - Independence Day (Independence Day in 1970).
October-November - "festival of lights" Devali (Diwali).
November 1 is All Saints Day.
November 11 - Memorial Day.
December 25 - Christmas.
December 26 - Day of the Gift