Cade Cowan, Senior Editor


Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and his FijiFirst Party has won election by a large margin in Fiji’s recent general elections. Bainimarama has been in power in Fiji since 2007 after a military coup, but this coup was bloodless and Bainimarama has worked diligently to transition Fiji to democracy. This election has been a democratic success. Fiji was isolated diplomatically by other governments after the initial coup, but its return to democracy has allowed it to be ushered back into the international community. Bainimarama has gained international acceptance and praise since the 2014 election, but he was initially characterized as a despot by Australia and New Zealand and other regional powers. This election has positive domestic and international implications. FijiFirst says it has bridged racial divisions by implementing equal rights for Indian-Fijians, a sizable minority brought to the island by the British to work on colonial era, sugar plantations. Bainimarama’s government has overseen a prosperous period for the island nation’s  tourism-based economy, which has experienced growth more than three percent annually. He has advocated for climate change action internationally, chairing the United Nations' COP 23 talks on global warming and showcasing the dangers faced by island nations due to rising sea levels.This election sheds positive light on the prospects of democratization in the region and the need for international collective action towards climate change.