New poll shows Fijians back Bainimarama

A new poll of 1000 Fijians found a majority support Commodore Frank Bainimarama and disagree with the stance taken over the Fijian government by the international community. Photo / Dev Nadkarni
A new poll of 1000 Fijians found a majority support Commodore Frank Bainimarama and disagree with the stance taken over the Fijian government by the international community. Photo / Dev Nadkarni

Most Fijians think the world should butt out and leave the country to sort out its own return to democracy, according to a poll released today.

Fiji has faced international condemnation after Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power following a coup in 2006, and has been suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum and Commonwealth after failing to hold democratic elections.

Many countries have imposed limited sanctions on Fiji, and New Zealand and Australia have also imposed travel sanctions against members of the regime and their relatives, in an effort to pressure Fiji to return to democracy.

The Lowy Institute Fiji Poll, which last month surveyed 1032 people from Fiji's main island of Viti Levu, found the majority of local people opposed the international pressure and thought the country should be left alone to return to democracy.

Of those surveyed, 63 per cent either strongly disagreed or partly disagreed with the international approach taken towards Fiji in response to the coup.

The poll also found Fijians regarded the forum as the most important regional organisation for Fiji, and 79 per cent disapproved of the country's suspension.

Cmdr Bainimarama's performance as Prime Minister was highly regarded by 66 per cent of those interviewed, and 65 per cent said Fiji was heading in the right direction.

A slim majority (53 per cent) said democracy was preferable to any other form of government.

The poll's credibility is expected to be questioned by the regime's opponents, who say that people living in Fiji are under pressure to toe the Government line.

- APNZ

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