Asia-Pacific

Bainimarama commands Fiji at ballot box

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Voreqe Bainimarama has achieved legitimacy through the ballot box as Fiji’s leader eight years after deposing the democratically elected government in a military coup.

With 1244 of 2025 polling booths counted, his Fiji First party has polled 60 per cent of the vote, boosted by a strong personal vote for the former rear admiral.

The nearest rivals Sodelpa, the party he overthrew in 2006, was on 26 percent and the National Federation Party trailing well behind on 5 percent.

Election observers yesterday said the poll appeared to go smoothly with no reports of intimidation or violence.

The Multinational Observer Group led by Australia and Indonesia will release a interim report on the elections later today.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has welcomed the outcome but said it is only the first step down the road to democracy.

Data from the Elections Office this morning shows Bainimarama attracted a substantial personal ballot of 162973 of the 387400 counted so far.

Leader of the Sodelpa party Ro Teimumu Kepa attracted 35975 votes, less that a quarter of her opponent.

It could take up to four days before all the votes are counted.

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