Constitution Day Date: July 27
Constitution Day is celebrated by Fiji.
Fiji, an ex British territory, is now a self governing democratic state. It turned into a Republic in 1987. The Fiji Constitution Day celebration in Fiji takes place on July 27 every year until 2009 when it was abolished by President Josefa Iloilo. It also was not in effect after the 2000 Fijian coup defeat followed by Commodore Frank Bainimarama. It is the third Constitution of Fiji. The first was adopted in 1970 after the freedom and soon cancelled due to two military coups in 1987.
Fiji Constitution Day History
Constitution being the prime law plays an important role in Fiji. An act, which marked the modification of 1990 Constitution, was passed in 1997. Popularly known as The Constitution Amendment Act 1997, it was put into effect from July 27, 1998. Basically, the Constitution practices the recognition, respect of many ethnic groups and also stands by their rights. This new Constitution provided Fiji a place back in the Commonwealth in October, 1997.
The constitutional proceedings led to the commencement of the Fiji Constitution Day in 1995. President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara appointed a Constitutional Review Commission. The committee comprised of an ethnic Fijian, an Indo-Fijian under the chairmanship of an old Governor-General of New Zealand. On September 6 1996, the Commission presented its report before the President. The report was thoroughly analyzed and reviewed by different authorities. Finally the Constitution came into effect from July 25, 2007. The British Parliament serves as a model for the Fiji’s Parliamentary proceedings and routine. So, the Constitution Day in Fiji was first honored and celebrated on the July 25, 2007.
Fiji Constitution Day Traditions and Activities
According to the Constitution of Fiji, it is compulsory for all natives, who are above 21 years of age and settled in Fiji for the past two years to register. It is expected that these enlisted voters used their right to vote in elections. The 1997 Constitution has made it clear that victory in elections is based on complete majority format. A multi party Cabinet includes the Ministers as well as the Prime Minister. An order of checks and evenness are provided in the Constitution to secure the self reliance of the judiciary. Unjust distinction on the basis of sexual orientation is discouraged and unlawful in Fiji. In fact, Fiji’s Constitution is the second in the world to particularly mention and protect against such discriminations. Thus, Fiji’s Constitution supports the rights of all its various groups of inhabitants and also discourages racial or sexual discrimination, which makes the Constitution Day in Fiji so special.
According to the latest news, this Constitution has been recently suspended in April 2009. Interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has declared that a new fourth Constitution will be introduced by 2013. The new constitution would abolish the old ethnic based provisions of the electoral system and also lower the voting age to 18. There would check on the number of seats in the Parliament and the “requirement of Senate”. This new Constitution is to be produced after comprehensive discussions among political parties, non-governmental organizations and lastly Fiji’s citizens and hopefully will be the best for all.