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Constitutional engineering and impact: The case of Fiji

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Chapter Summary

The politics of Fiji have been closely tied to its constitutions. The military dominated administration replaced the independence constitution in 1990. This chapter examines the making and orientation of the 1997 Constitution. If the 1970 Constitution codified the existing configuration of power to maintain the status quo, and the 1990 Constitution gave stronger foundation for that configuration, the 1997 Constitution attempted to change power relationships and eventually the basis of politics, moving towards greater political integration and aiming to develop a common political community out of diverse races. The principal focus of the chapter is the social engineering aspect of the constitution, through a number of new devices, particularly the forms of representation and the structure of government. The Joint Parliamentary Select Committee (JPSC), had responsibility for the implementation of the constitution, working with an experienced draftsperson recruited primarily for preparing legislation for this purpose.

Keywords: 1997 constitution; constitutional engineering; Fiji; Joint Parliamentary Select Committee (JPSC); political integration



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