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About the Fiji Labour Party

A Brief History

The Fiji Labour Party was formed to defend the rights of workers, farmers and the poor. It was formally inaugurated on 6 July 1985 in Suva with the Fiji Trades Union Congress as the main inspiration and driving force behind its formation. 


It was the unions’ response to a series of anti-worker policies of the post 1982 Alliance Government culminating in the unilateral imposition of a wage freeze effective January 1985 without consultation with the Tripartite Forum.  


The new Party received enthusiastic support at the grassroots level and successfully contested the 1987 general elections in a coalition with the National Federation Party. 


It formed a government with Labour leader Dr Timoci Bavadra as Prime Minister but this was short-lived as Dr Bavadra’s government was deposed in a racist coup led by Sitiveni Rabuka, third ranking colonel in the Fiji Military Forces  a month after taking office. 


Labour was returned to government in the 1999 general elections held under the new Constitution. It formed a multi-party government in coalition with the Fijian Association Party, the Party of National Unity (PANU) and the Christian Democratic Party with Labour’s Mahendra Chaudhry as Prime Minister. 


The Labour-led government was popular as it initiated a number of socio-economic reforms to bring down the cost of living and alleviate poverty. But once again, exactly one year into office, 19 May 2000 the government was removed in a coup backed by the army and led by a civilian George Speight. 


After that Labour contested the 2001 and 2006 general elections under the leadership of Mahendra Chaudhry. It formed a multi-party Cabinet with Laisenia Qarase’s SDL Party in 2006 but the government was ousted in a coup staged by Army Commander Voreqe Bainimarama in December 2006. 

Although not in parliament after that, Labour remains a leading and respected voice on national issues particularly those affecting the rights and welfare of workers, farmers and the poor.  

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