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The third stage of the project on ‘perceptions and perspectives of democratic development in the Fiji Islands’ is well underway. In this phase members of the research team are analyzing the data gathered in the second project stage. In that stage 40 Focus Group discussions were held with men and women from indigenous Fijian (i-Taukei) and Indo-Fijian communities in rural, urban and semi-urban areas, and 83 in-depth interviews were conducted with government representatives, politicians, traditional leaders, religious leaders, academics, representatives of civil society and the business community. Data from Focus Group discussions and interviews form the basis for the elaboration of the project report. These data are rich, differentiated, and sometimes surprising. Of course, there are contradictions, and there are differing and even opposing views with regard to certain issues. But there are also striking similarities and common patterns. It can be expected that the project findings as they will be presented in the project report will have a major impact on the current public debate about the prospects for democratic development in Fiji.

PaCSIA’s Volker Boege was in Suva in mid-October for a three-day intensive workshop with colleagues from Fiji and the UK to discuss drafts of the chapters for the final project report. Chapters on methodology, understandings of democracy, decision-making, leadership, citizenship and rule of law were discussed in great detail during the workshop. Based on the project findings, a series of political recommendations was elaborated. In the coming weeks researchers will finalize their contributions to the report. It is planned to have the public launch of the report in Suva in February 2013.

The project ‘Perceptions and perspectives of democratic development in the Fiji Islands’ is coordinated by the  Institute for Research and Social Analysis of the Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji, and funded by the Development Service of the Protestant Churches in Germany (Brot fuer die Welt/EED).