An almost complete lack of protest by the local left is significant, when one remembers their vocal protests after the last three coups.
Interestingly, the Communist Party of Australia has published an article in its latest issue of The Guardian which clearly favours the new regime.
Fiji: New government consolidates support
The government of Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama has consolidated its support since the removal of the Qarase government in the military take-over on December 5 last year. The new government was expelled from the Commonwealth of Nations and Australia and New Zealand imposed some sanctions in the form personal boycotts and trade restrictions. Australians were discouraged from visiting Fiji which relies heavily on income from tourism.
A statement from the Prime Minister said that “We have been acting kindly towards our ‘big brother nations’ giving them a chance to accept the situation and help move Fiji forward. Both these countries export hundreds of millions of dollars of goods and services into our domestic market. They also have many expatriates here on work permits, working in various institutions and companies.
“I am considering imposing a series of retaliatory measures if both these countries do not respond positively to our situation“, said the PM’s statement.
Positive developments include the endorsement of the new government by the Great Council of Chiefs which stated that it was time to move forward. The Chairman of the Council supported the President’s choice of cabinet ministers while adding that Fiji needs an urgent return to democracy. He called on the media to take a “responsible” attitude in reporting current events.
Among the newly appointed Cabinet Ministers is Mahendra Chaudry the leader of the Fijian Labour Party who’s government was removed in a coup about 20 years ago. The Chaudry government had also been democratically elected but when he was removed few tears were shed in Australia which saw the Chaudry government as too progressive.
Chaudry is the new Minister of Finance, National Planning, Public Enterprise and Sugar Reform. He gave as the new government’s priorities efforts to revive the economy and to uplift the living standards of poor people. He said that he would “do his best” to serve the nation and the people by addressing the problems of joblessness and poverty.
Another significant development was the support given to the new government by other Melanesian governments in the South Pacific — Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Immediately following the coup the Australian government called a meeting of South Pacific Island nations with a view to lining them up against the coup. The support of the Melanesian governments for Fiji suggest that Downer’s efforts have not been very successful.
Members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group have accused Australia of trying to dominate their affairs, especially after the military takeover of the Qarase-led government.