Iloilo, Josefa (Fiji)

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Josefa Iloilo became acting president following the nationalist coup of 2000 and was given the job on a permanent basis in March 2001. He had to contend with a racially-divided, economically and politically unstable environment. He was deposed in a coup in Dec. 2006 when Commodore Frank Bainimarama assumed the presidential powers, but reinstated in Jan. 2007.

Early Life

Iloilo was born in 1920. He was Fiji’s vice president when in May 2000 indigenous Fijian George Speight and his supporters took hostage the government of ethnic Indian prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry. Chaudhry’s administration was subsequently dismissed by decree of the Great Council of Chiefs. Speight, a bankrupt businessman, pronounced himself prime minister. The affair was the culmination of years of rising tensions between the ethnic Fijian population and Fiji’s financially and politically powerful ethnic Indian minority. Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth’s councils in June 2000. The following...

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