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As a former Britishmarker colony, Fijimarker has largely adopted British political models and follows the Westminster, or Cabinet, system of government, in which the executive branch of government is responsible to the legislature. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, but must be supported, or at least accepted, by a majority in the House of Representatives. If at any time the Prime Minister loses the "confidence" of the House, he must resign, along with the entire Cabinet. In practice, this usually reduces the Prime Minister's appointment to a formality, as the parliamentary leader of the majority political party or coalition is invariably appointed. If, however, no such majority party or coalition exists, whether due to electoral fragmentation or to party realignments after an election, the President's role becomes much more important. The President must endeavour to find a candidate acceptable to a majority in the House; if no such candidate can be found, the President must dissolve Parliament and call an election prematurely.

The Prime Minister of Fijimarker is technically the "first among equals," whose vote in meetings of the Cabinet carries no greater weight that that of any other minister. In practice, the Prime Minister dominates the government. Other Ministers are appointed by the President, but on the Prime Minister's advice, and may be dismissed by him at any time (although his control over ministerial appointments may be tempered by the realities of coalition politics: the leader or leaders of coalition partners may insist on having a say in the matter too).

Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara was appointed Fiji's first Chief Minister on 20 September 1967. When Fiji attained its independence from Britain on 10 October 1970, the office was renamed Prime Minister. Despite the renaming, the functions of the office were not significantly changed, and the table below therefore counts Mara's term as Chief Minister as part of his Prime Ministerial term.

List of Prime Ministers

Order Leader Political Party Term of office
1. Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara Alliance Party 20 September 1967 - 13 April 1987
2. Timoci Bavadra Fiji Labour Party 13 April 1987 - 14 May 1987
Vacant [1] 14 May 1987 - 5 December 1987
. Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara None [2] 5 December 1987 - 2 June 1992
3. Sitiveni Rabuka Fijian Political Party 2 June 1992 - 19 May 1999
4. Mahendra Chaudhry Fiji Labour Party 19 May 1999 - 27 May 2000
5. Ratu Tevita Momoedonu Fiji Labour Party[3] 27 May 2000
Vacant [1] 27 May 2000 - 4 July 2000
6. Laisenia Qarase None [4] 4 July 2000 - 14 March 2001
. Ratu Tevita Momoedonu Fiji Labour Party 14 March 2001 - 16 March 2001 (interim)
7. Laisenia Qarase Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua [4] 16 March 2001 - 5 December 2006
8. Dr Jona Baravilala Senilagakali Installed by military coup [5] 5 December 2006 - 4 January 2007
9. Commodore Frank Bainimarama Military 5 January 2007 - 10 April 2009
Vacant [6] 10 April 2009 - 11 April 2009
9. Commodore Frank Bainimarama Military 11 April 2009 - Present
  • [1] Two military coups in 1987 and a civilian coup d'├ętat in 2000 left Fiji without a Prime Minister each time.
  • [2] Mara's party, the Fijian Alliance, was dissolved in the wake of the 1987 coups, so he was effectively a non-party Prime Minister in his last term.
  • [3] Ratu Momoedonu was appointed Prime Minister on 27 May 2000, by the then-President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, in order to meet a constitutional technicality. He resigned only a few minutes later, as soon as the technicality had been attended to, in order to allow the President to assume full executive power.
  • [4] Qarase was not a member of a political party when he headed the interim government in 2000 and early 2001. Following his reinstatement on 16 March 2001 (after two days' absence from office), he founded the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua to contest the parliamentary election that was to be held later that year.
  • [5] Senilagakali was installed as Interim Prime Minister as Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama took control of the Government. He was previously a highly esteemed medical doctor, the former President of the Fijian Medical Association, and was military doctor at the time of the coup.
  • [6] The Bainimarama government was dismissed as illegal by Fiji's Court of Appeal, leading to the Prime Minister's immediate resignation. He was re-appointed the next day by President Josefa Iloilo, following the latter's abrogation of the Constitution.

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