7 May 2014

Fiji polls shaping up to be battle of personalities

8:27 pm on 7 May 2014

An observer of Fiji politics says the Fiji election will mostly be a battle of personalities and leadership.

Three parties and one proposed party have now confirmed who will lead them in the September polls and the Labour Party is still to confirm Mahendra Chaudhry after his conviction last week.

Auckland University's Steven Ratuva says despite Labour being in a leadership crisis, there is now a core line-up of capable leaders for people to choose from who could be described as superstars in their own field.

Dr Ratuva says the new electoral system puts even more pressure on leaders to perform than in the past.

"First of all you only have one constituency and secondly voters will have to vote for only one person and that's where the party leader's popularity comes in so in terms of just attracting voters to a particular party you need somebody to be a superstar to solicit the votes. That's the whole psychology behind this electoral system."

Steven Ratuva of Auckland University.

The People's Democratic Party has elected former union chief Felix Anthony as its leader, former economics professor Biman Prasad is the leader of the National Federation Party, the indigenous chief Ro Temumu Kepa heads Sodelpa and the incumbent prime minister Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama leads the Fiji First party, which is awaiting registration.