On 6 December 2006, the democratically elected Government of Fiji was replaced following a military takeover. Shortly thereafter, the Parliament of Fiji was suspended. At the time, the Parliament of Fiji comprised two houses - the 71-member, elected House of Representatives and the 32 member, appointed Senate. The 2006 Parliament had 8 women elected to the House of Representatives and 5 women appointed to the Senate.
The current Fiji Government has announced its commitment to developing a new constitution by September 2013 and holding national elections in September 2014. On 9 March 2012, the Fiji Government announced the roadmap for a new constitution-making process. Civic education will be run from May-July 2012. Public consultations will then commence through a 5-member Constitutional Commission from July to September 2012. Two members of the Constitutional Commission are women - Ms Taufa Vakatale, the first female Deputy Prime Minister of Fiji, and Ms Christina Murray, a constitutional law expert from South Africa. From October to December 2012, the Constitutional Commission will collate public submissions and draft a Constitution. In January 2013, the draft constitution will then be submitted to a Constituent Assembly, consisting of representative civil society groups and organizations that are Fijian-registered, including faith-based organizations, national institutions, political parties, and Government. The Constituent Assembly will have 2 months to consider the draft Constitution. Once the Constituent Assembly approves the Constitution, by the end of February 2013, it will then be assented to by the President of Fiji.
The Fiji women's movement has commenced discussions on how to integrate gender issues into the envisaged constitutional and electoral reform processes. On 12 April 2012, the first National Women's Forum was convened in Suva by women's NGOs. Women's groups discussed a range of issues, including women's leadership. The final National Women's Forum Outcomes Statement called for a 50% women's quota in any new national legislature and/or a compulsory 50% candidates quota for political parties.
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