1. Fiji First win
a. SODELPA may be able to call on military chiefs including Tikoitoga to overthrow Bainimarama and suppress his supporters within the military (it will be a replay of 2000 but Bainimarama on the mutinying side, as it were); this is possible, given the complex and often shifting web of Fijian allegiances
b. Bainimarama wins democratic mandate, as Rabuka did in his first elections after implementing the 1987 coup
2. SODELPA win
a. Bainimarama’s allies in the military may be able to whip up rank-and-file support using the concept of the vanua, and overthrow the elected government
b. Fiji returns to pre-2006 coup political landscape, in terms of replicating Rabuka’s affirmative action programmes of the 1990s and Qarase’s blueprint – the issue with this is not that it is pro-indigenous, but whether it delivers the outcomes it purports (this didn’t happen in the 1990s)
Bearing in mind, that either (1) or (2) will perhaps likely involve coalition with some minor parties, which historically is not pre-disposed to creating political stability in Fiji.
Also, let’s remember that return and transition to democracy is really not the issue here. That the elections have taken place using a single national constituency, open list proportional representation voting, one-person/one-vote is the democratic win, quite frankly.
What remains after these feverish 24 hours is the same basic issue that has always tormented Fiji politics: land. Fiji is relatively young as an independent state, in its fifth decade. It’s not new to multi-culturalism, but has a heritage created by the British in which ethnic strife was fundamental to divide-and-rule; and in addition it cannot isolate itself from larger international discourses, such as those of indigenous right on one hand and human rights and social justice and democracy on the other.
Fiji’s future is far from certain. Those who have called her home – whether the cherished iTaukei or descendants of settler communities or researchers like myself and other colleagues who have spent only a few years at most among the people of Fiji – wish only that Fiji and her people find peace.