30 Dec 2022

Fiji’s new PM addresses nation

11:53 am on 30 December 2022
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka was traditionally welcomed by the staff of the Office of the Prime Minister on December 29, 2022

Fiji's prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka Photo: Fijian government

Fiji's Sitiveni Rabuka has addressed the nation for the first time as its new prime minister leading a three-party coalition government on Thursday.

Rabuka, who has assumed the role of head of government for the second time in his political career, delivered his inaugural statement to the people of Fiji via the state's social media channels.

Fijian voters voted out Frank Bainimarama's FijiFirst after two terms in power, signalling their appetite for change.

Rabuka's message to his fellow citizens was one promising a better and united Fiji for all.

"Our country is experiencing a great and joyful awakening," he said.

"It gladdens my heart to be a part of it. And I am reminded of the heavy responsibilities I now bear."

Apart from being prime minister, Rabuka is also responsible for foreign affairs, climate change, environment, civil service, information and public enterprises, and leads a cabinet made up of 19 ministers, as well as 10 assistant ministers.

He accepts that his cabinet is "larger than I initially planned."

"Some of you [Fijian people] will be concerned about the cost," he said.

But he offered his assurance to the people that he will take the necessary actions to cut costs, beginning with cuts to parliamentarians' paycheques.

"In a democracy, the people are in charge," Rabuka said.

"Elected representatives like me, and my parliamentary colleagues, do not lord it over you. We are your servants. We are here to listen to your concerns and respect your views."

In his speech he sets out the direction the Rabuka's People's Alliance-National Federation Party-Social Democratic Liberal Party coalition government will be headed.