Fiji coup leader declares poll victory

Frank Bainimarama claims nation’s first democratic election since he forcibly took power eight years ago.

Bainimarama came to power in a bloodless coup eight years ago [AP]

Fiji coup leader Frank Bainimarama has declared himself the new prime minister, four days after the country’s first democratic election in eight years.

“My fellow Fijians, as you know Fiji First has won the general elections and I will lead the new government to serve the nation,” he told thousands of cheering supporters gathered in a sport stadium on Sunday.

“I am deeply honoured and humbled that the Fijian people have put their trust in me to lead them into our new and true democracy.”

Although the final vote count has not been released, provisional results show Bainimarama’s Fiji First Party heading towards a clear victory.

Bainimarama’s victory declaration came after the electoral office showed Fiji First with 59.1 percent support after votes had been counted at 88 percent of the polling booths. The Social Democratic Liberal Party was a distant second at 28.3 percent.

Although opposition parties have complained of voting irregularities, a multi-national observer group in Fiji to scrutinise the poll labelled it “credible” and representing the will of the people.

The 60-year-old Bainimarama, a former rear admiral, seized power in a bloodless coup in December 2006 saying he needed to end widespread corruption and discrimination against ethnic Indians, who make up about 40 percent of the 900,000 population.

Source: News Agencies