Conflict resolution key for government, advises Ratuva

January 24, 2024 6:44 am

Political Sociologist Professor Steven Ratuva

Politics in Fiji has been described as unpredictable by Political Sociologist Professor Steven Ratuva and he asserts that “anything can happen.”

He highlights the precarious nature of coalition agreements emphasizing their reliance on trust rather than legal ties.

Outlined by Professor Ratuva are six key options for the coalition government. First and foremost is the imperative to resolve internal conflicts to ensure survival until the next election.

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Option two, he says involves SODELPA’s attempt to court the FijiFirst party, a move that could reshape the political landscape.

Tensions between party leaders add an element of unpredictability as politics in Professor Ratuva’s words remains a realm where “anything can happen.”

“So there are all kinds of little scenarios and different options which I think people are thinking about so far. And in the next six months from now until June there will be a little frustrating. There will be a lot of diplomatic deleveraging here and there between the different political parties.”

Prof Ratuva highlights another potential route is a vote of no confidence whose outcome hinges on strategic shifts in allegiances.

He says the delicate balance could result in scenarios where a single vote from SODELPA aligning with FijiFirst maintains the status quo or where all three SODELPA MPs move in that direction, creating a reverse equation with the NFP/PAP coalition at 26 and FijiFirst SODELPA at 29.

Considering a new election, Prof Ratuva says the constitutional requirement of an 18-month waiting period until June becomes a pivotal factor.

The Fijian academic also highlights that Rabuka and the People’s Alliance may already have alternative options in play adding intrigue to the unfolding political drama.

Professor Ratuva notes the Pacific region’s history of governmental rises and falls citing Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu internal splits within coalition groups led to instability.

Despite occasional coups, he adds that Fiji has maintained relative stability, particularly under its current parliamentary rule.

However, Professor Ratuva warns that the implementation of the new proportional representation system poses a significant test with potential challenges if coalition partners do not navigate it adeptly.

In the weeks to come, Professor Ratuva anticipates a dynamic and uncertain political landscape where various options and scenarios will shape Fiji’s future.