Voreqe Bainimarama is the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Fiji after leading his FijiFirst political movement to a decisive victory in the 2014 General Election on 17 September 2014.
Mr. Bainimarama has been the Fijian Prime Minister since 2006. Under his leadership, Fiji has undergone a broad program of social, economic, electoral and constitutional reforms, which led up to the restoration of parliamentary democracy in 2014.
One of the Prime Minister’s first tasks was to abolish institutionalised racism in Fiji. Since assuming office, he has helped establish a common national identity, which promotes unity over division and creates the legal framework for a common and equal citizenry, while protecting traditional land ownership and rights.
The Prime Minister has made the delivery of basic services – such as clean water, electricity, roads and affordable mobile and Internet – his Government’s top priority. He is also committed to rooting out the systemic corruption that has plagued Fiji in the past, as well as to generating an investment-friendly environment that creates jobs and grows the economy.
Under his guidance, Fiji discarded its old racially-weighted electoral system in favour of one based on the principle of “one person, one vote, one value.” The Prime Minister has also lowered the voting age to 18 to give Fiji’s large and dynamic youth population a voice in elections.
And now, Fiji has a new Constitution that enshrines many of these reforms and that, for the first time, guarantees social and economic rights such as the right to a fair wage, clean water, affordable housing, adequate transportation and economic participation. Also for the first time, under the constitution public office holders will have to answer to an independent Accountability and Transparency Commission.
The Prime Minister was born in Suva and was educated at Marist Brothers High School.
He enlisted into the Royal Fiji Military Forces Naval Division as an Ordinary Seaman in 1975, and was commissioned from the ranks as an Ensign in 1977.
Prime Minister Bainimarama attained Second Mate Qualification for the Pacific Island from the Fiji Institute of Technology in 1980, and qualified from the Junior Command and Staff College with the RNZAF in March of 1981.
He was promoted Lieutenant in August 1981. In April 1988, he was appointed Commanding Officer of the Fiji Navy and was later promoted Commander that same year.
He was then promoted to the rank of Captain in October 1994 before attending the Australian Joint Services Staff College [JSSC].
He assumed the appointment of Chief of Staff of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces in October 1997. Later, he was appointed Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and promoted Commodore on 01 March 1999.
The Prime Minister has been honored with the Meritorious Service Decoration and is an officer of the Order of St John of Jerusalem for outstanding service to the military and Fiji. His additional awards include the Multi National Force and Observers Peacekeeping Medal, the Fiji Republic Medal and the Anniversary Medal.
The Prime Minister is also Minister for iTaukei Affairs and the Sugar Industry.
He is married to Maria Makitalena and they have six (6) children and twelve (12) grandchildren. His interests include all sports, in particular rugby union, athletics, military history and current affairs.