Former Fiji PM Frank Bainimarama quits parliament following ‘unjustified’ suspension

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Former Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama has resigned from the Pacific nation’s parliament, weeks after he was suspended for sedition and insulting the president.

Bainimarama said he was tendering his resignation “with immediate effect”, but had no intention of resigning from politics, in a post on his FijiFirst party’s Facebook page.

The 68-year-old had led Fiji since taking power in a bloodless coup in 2006. He was replaced as prime minister following a closely contested general election last December.

In February, parliament suspended Bainimarama until 2026 after a speech in which he criticised his successor, Sitiveni Rabuka, and president Wiliame Katonivere.

Bainimarama accused Katonivere of failing to protect the constitution, which he claimed was “being stripped away almost on a daily basis” by Rabuka’s new government.

In a statement on Wednesday, Bainimarama described his three-year suspension for breaching parliamentary procedure as “unwarranted and most certainly unjustified”.

“However, the decision has been made by parliament … and I have complied with the decision.”

While Bainimarama will remain leader of FijiFirst, his resignation means his opposition party can retain “at all times” their 26 seats in the country’s 55-seat parliament.

His seat will be filled by a FijiFirst politician, and Bainimarama said the party would nominate one of his former ministers, Inia Seruiratu, as the new opposition leader at the next sitting.

“This is to ensure that we keep the three-uneven-legged stool in check,” he added, referring to Rabuka’s coalition government.

He added that he would remain strongly involved in the country’s political scene.

“I want to assure all our supporters and all Fijians that you will be seeing more of me on the ground as I engage with you to listen to your needs, wants and concerns,” Bainimarama said.

Former Fiji PM Frank Bainimarama quits parliament following ‘unjustified’ suspension

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