Bainimarama, Frank

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Bainimarama, Frank

Frank Bainimarama (Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama) (jōsäē´ä vôrĕn´gĕ bī´nēmärä´mä) 1954–, Fijian naval officer and government leader. He rose through the ranks of the Royal Fijian Navy, serving in South America, New Zealand, and the United States, and in 1984 assumed command of his first ship. He also was part of the multinational observer force in the Sinai (1986–87). In 1988 he became head of Fiji's navy. Bainimarama was appointed chief of staff of Fiji's military in 1997 and was named a commodore two years later. After a putsch attempt in 2000, the military intervened and Bainimarama was acting head of state for three months before Ratu Josefa Iloilo became president. In 2006, after years of controversy and tension between the government and military, Bainimarama ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and became interim president. In Jan., 2007, he returned Iloilo to the presidency, and Iloilo named Bainimarama interim prime minister. When, in Apr., 2009, the courts declared Bainimarama's government illegal, he resigned as interim prime minister, but he was reappointed after the president revoked the constitution. Bainimarama resigned as military chief of staff in 2014 prior to running for office under a new constitution. His Fiji First party handily won the Sept., 2014, elections and he became prime minister.

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