Fiji at home and in the world: public opinion and foreign policy
The Lowy Institute’s first Fiji Poll was a wide-ranging survey of public opinion in Fiji about the performance of Fiji’s military-led government and Fiji’s relations with the world. Questions focused on the implementation of government promises, the role of Fiji’s military, and democracy. Foreign policy questions addressed Fiji’s relationships with traditional and newer partners, Fiji’s role in the Pacific, and Fiji’s suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth. Photo: Flickr user Markolf Zimmer.
- Near universal support for fundamental democratic rights including voting in free elections, freedom speech and free media.
- Stronger support for Fiji’s relations with traditional partners Australia and New Zealand than for emerging partners China and India.
- Opposition to Fiji’s suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum and Commonwealth.
The Lowy Institute Fiji Poll reports the results of a face-to-face opinion survey conducted in Fiji between 19 and 21 August 2011 using a sample of 1,032 adults randomly selected from the major urban and peri-urban areas of Viti Levu.
Most Fiji people were positive about the importance of maintaining good foreign relationships, particularly with traditional partners such as Australia, New Zealand, the United States and United Kingdom.
The Pacific Islands Forum was regarded as the most important regional organisation for Fiji, and 79% disapproved of Fiji’s suspension from the Forum. A similar number also disagreed with Fiji’s suspension from the Commonwealth.
The majority of Fiji people said Fiji should be left alone to sort out its return to democracy, expressing opposition to international pressure on the Fiji government.
The people of Fiji registered a strong approval rating of 66% for the performance of Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama as Prime Minister. A similar number (65%) said Fiji was heading in the right direction.
A slim majority (53%) of Fiji people said democracy was preferable to any other form of government. While overall approval for the current role of the Fiji military was high at 68%, support for a long-term role for the military in Fiji’s politics was lower at 52%.
There was near universal support in Fiji for some of the basic tenets of democracy, with over 95% overall support for the importance of the right to free expression, the right to vote in national elections, the right to a fair trial, and a media free from censorship.
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