Labka leads the People’s Alliance Party. He said there was little chance of a coup, even if the prime minister decided to challenge the outcome.
The Pacific nation has experienced four coups since independence in 1970.
“I accepted the defeat in 1999 and I hope he does,” said Rabuka.
“We cannot live forever. We cannot rule forever.”
“We should accept successors from the opposition. This is a normal process in a democratic system.”
But some voters remain concerned about the potential repercussions of speaking out against the government.
One, who identified himself as Jack, told the AAP that he wanted regime change, but that the front-runners were both coup leaders.
“Both of them are thieves. They took over the government without permission,” said a 50-year-old woman.
“I want a change of government, but what hopes do you have for the future when you have to choose between two thieves?”
The People’s Alliance Party is working with the smaller National Coalition Party to overthrow the incumbent Fiji First government.
Rabuka and NFP leader Biman Prasad believe there is a mood for change.
“For us, I think it will work out very well,” Ravka said Wednesday.
Voting is not compulsory, but Fijians are given a holiday and encouraged to vote.
At some polling stations, lines were more than 300 meters long an hour after voting began, but voter turnout declined throughout the day.
Elections director Mohamed Saneem said the voter turnout was not encouraging as just over half of eligible Fijians had voted an hour before the polls closed.
That’s a significant drop from 72% in 2018, and a further drop from almost 85% in 2014, when democratic elections resumed for the first time in eight years.
“Still, by Fijian standards, it’s unacceptable,” Thaneem said.
In a midday media update, Suneem urged:
Preliminary results are expected Thursday night, with official results about four days later.
Bainimarama and FijiFirst are setting records amid COVID-19 and a strong economy. He also spurred free education, expanded access to health care, and improved infrastructure under his government.
Rabuka and the opposition say Fiji’s infrastructure and essential services are in disrepair.
They say that freedom has been crushed by a prime minister branded as a dictator, while poverty and inequality have increased.
About a quarter of Fijians live in poverty, and this jumps to over 40% in rural areas.
With inflation exceeding 5% and food prices more than doubling since the pandemic began, the pressure on the cost of living is also severe.
This article was produced through the Melbourne Press Club’s Michael Gordon Journalism Fellowship Program.
https://www.smh.com.au/world/oceania/low-voter-turnout-sparks-concern-in-fiji-20221214-p5c6cb.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Low voter turnout causes concern in Fiji