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Factbox-Five Facts on Fiji’s Prime Minister Bainimarama

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(Reuters) – Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, a former military chief who has ruled the Pacific island nation for 16 years, has not conceded defeat despite opposition parties saying they have a combined majority after a closely fought election last week.

Here are five facts on Bainimarama’s life and career:

– Born in the capital, Suva, on April 27, 1954, Josaia Voreque Bainimarama, known as Frank, started his military career when he enlisted as an Ordinary Seaman in July 1975.

– He has two decades of overseas experience – training with the New Zealand air force in 1981, the U.S. Coast Guard in 1983, and serving as a Lieutenant Commander with multinational forces in Sinai in 1986. He was appointed Commander of the Fiji Navy in October 1988, and rose through the ranks to become Chief of Staff of Fiji’s Military Forces in October 1997, having undertaken further military training in Malaysia and Australia in the 1990s. He was promoted to overall Commander in 1999.

– He made his first major mark on Fijian politics as head of a post-coup Interim Military Government from May to July 2000. He overthrew Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase in 2006, and has been in power since. Fiji First, a party he founded, won elections in 2014 and 2018. The latest election, held earlier this month, ended in a deadlock with no party in a majority. Three opposition parties have pledged to form a coalition, effectively dislodging Fiji First, although the alliance is yet to be tested in parliament.

– A staunch church-goer, Bainimarama and his wife Maria Makitalena have six children. His interests include military history, current affairs, rugby union and athletics, and he is President of the Fiji Rugby Union.

– Bainimarama has a high international profile for climate change advocacy and has been chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum, the regional diplomatic bloc, as it sought this year to manage rising security tensions between the United States and China.

(Editing by Lincoln Feast)

Disclaimer: This report is auto generated from the Reuters news service. ThePrint holds no responsibilty for its content.

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