Yesterday the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum met and demanded that Fiji tell them when it plans to return to democracy, or else they wouldn't be invited to parties anymore. Fijian dictator Frank Bainimarama's response? Compare the demand to "a declaration of war":
"I have never come across a situation where a country gives an ultimatum to another country unless, of course, there is a declaration of war," the self-appointed Fiji leader said.Which is the sort of response you'd expect from a demented authoritarian used to ordering people around like slaves and getting his own way. But I don't think its going to convince the Forum that his band of self-appointed thugs is fit for polite company.
Unfortunately there is little the Forum can do to pressure Bainimarama beyond social ostracism. The solution is going to have to come from within Fiji. And with Bainimarama showing no sign of yielding power voluntarily, that means the Fijian people will have to take to the streets and remove him from office. That does not look like a realistic possibility any time soon; the regime is simply not unpopular enough yet for the sort of mass withdrawal of consent seen in Argentina or the Ukraine. But if the Fijians want their democracy back, they are eventually going to have to get out there and demand it by weight of numbers.