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A new constitution enacted in 1997 was more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a civilian-led coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE. Re-elected in May 2006, QARASE was ousted in a December 2006 military coup led by Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA, who initially appointed himself acting president. In January 2007, BAINIMARAMA was appointed interim prime minister.
15-64 years: 65.9% (male 297,071/female 284,643)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 21,187/female 24,945) (2011 est.)
male: 27 years
female: 27.4 years (2012 est.)
conventional short form: Fiji
local long form: Republic of the Fiji Islands/Matanituko Viti
local short form: Fiji/Viti
geographic coordinates: 18 08 S, 178 25 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2012)
females age 16-49: 222,587 (2010 est.)
The coup has created a difficult business climate. Tourist arrivals for 2007 are estimated to be down almost 6%, with substantial job losses in the service sector. In July 2007 the Reserve Bank of Fiji announced the economy was expected to contract by 3.1% in 2007. Fiji’s current account deficit reached 23% of GDP in 2006. The EU has suspended all aid until the interim government takes steps toward new elections. Long-term problems include low investment, uncertain land ownership rights, and the government’s inability to manage its budget. Overseas remittances from Fijians working in Kuwait and Iraq have decreased significantly.
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