Fiji Labour Party
Published 3rd July, 2014
The Fiji Labour Party or FLP was formed in 1985 as a multi-racial party drawing its support from the Indo-Fijian community. The party describes itself as Centre-left.
The FLP fought its first election in 1987 as part of a coalition with the National Federation Party (NFP) and between them they won 28 of the 52 seats in the parliament. On 13th April 1987 Timoci Bavadra of the Fiji Labour Party became Prime Minister. However, the transfer of power was from an indigenous-led Conservative government to a multi-ethnic led coalition.
Bavandra’s tenure was painfully short when on 14th May 1987 Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka carried out a coup d’état.
Democracy was restored following a new constitution ratified in 1990 which ensured that the President, Prime Minister and more than half of the Senate and House of Representatives were reserved for indigenous Fijians.
This time the FLP fought alone and won 13 of the 70 seats in the 1992 general election. In 1994 they dropped to seven seats but in May 1999 the FLP won all of the 19 Indian seats and an overall total of 37 seats.
Mahendra Chaudhry, leader of the Labour Party and an Indo-Fijian took office as Prime Minister. Again the Prime Minister had a short tenure. This time a civilian coup d’état was led by George Speight and a group who kidnapped 36 government officials including the Prime Minister on 19th May 2000, holding them hostage for nearly two months.
Labour remained the most organised party in Fiji and in a 2001 election they won 27 seats, coming second and in 2006 took 31 seats, again coming second.
In 2013 the FLP decided to join forces with the National Federation Party (NFP) and the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) to form an alliance called the United Front for a Democratic Fiji.