A poll in Fiji

The Herald reports:

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. …

The Lowy Institute Poll, which last month surveyed 1032 people from ’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. …

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.

It sounds like the poll was done face to face, in which case it is hardly surprising that people said good things about the Commodore.

I’m not saying that the Commodore doesn’t have popular support, but you have to remember Fiji is now a country where the media is censored, you are basically not allowed to criticise the Commodore publicly and there is no scrutiny of the Government and no opposition is allowed.

Popularity alone is no excuse for dictatorship.

John Key got elected on a popular mandate. He is the country’s most popular Prime Minister ever. Key may well hold a genuine belief that the former Labour Government was corrupt. And if he had the former PM arrested, abolished Parliament, promised elections in eight years once he has got rid of the racial Maori seats and ruled with no opposition or media scrutiny – well then he might still be quite popular in the .

But would that in any way justify him doing any of that? No – not at all. A country must be a nation of laws, not power seized at gunpoint.

If the Commodore is so popular, then let the media be free, let there be an opposition, let political parties campaign and let the Commodore stand for election.

It has now been five years since he seized power. he has promised elections in 2014. I remain sceptical that these will eventuate.  I hope they will, but I just can’t see him risking a future Government ever being independent of him – as there is a risk he could then face charges.

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