Wiliame Katonivere

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Wiliame Katonivere
Ratu Wiliame Katonivere 12 NOV 21.jpg
Katonivere in 2021
6th President of Fiji
Assumed office
12 November 2021
Prime MinisterFrank Bainimarama
Preceded byJioji Konrote
Personal details
Born (1964-04-20) 20 April 1964 (age 58)
Suva, Fiji
Spouse(s)Filomena Dikumete-Katonivere
Children2
Military service
AllegianceRepublic of Fiji
Branch/serviceRepublic of Fiji Military Forces
RankLieutenant Colonel

Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere (born 20 April 1964) is a Fijian chief and politician who is the president of Fiji since 2021.[1][2] He has also been the chief of Macuata Province since 2013, succeeding his older brother Aisea Katonivere,[3] and was previously involved in conservation initiatives of Fiji's Great Sea Reef.[1][4]

Katonivere has been the chairman of the Pine Group of Companies from 2020 to 2021, which includes Fiji Pine Limited, Tropik Wood Industries Limited, and Tropik Wood Products Limited. He is also a board member for Fiji Airports, Fiji Sugar Corporation and Rewa Rice Ltd.[4][5]

Military career[edit]

At 19, Katonivere joined the Royal Fiji Military Forces in 1984 and served two tours in the Middle East under the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.[6][7] He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Territorial Forces and served as a Commanding officer of the 7th Infantry Regiment of the Territorial Forces.[8][9]

Political career[edit]

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama nominated Katonivere for President of the Republic of Fiji on 21 October 2021. He accepted the nomination in which Parliament convened the next day to vote on the presidency. Katonivere garnered 28 votes defeating his contender SODELPA MP Teimumu Kepa.[10][11] Prior in becoming president, Katonivere resigned from all board positions he previously held.[5]

Presidency (2021–present)[edit]

Katonivere was sworn in as the 6th President of Fiji on 12 November 2021 succeeding Jioji Konrote.[8] At 57, he is the youngest person to have assumed the office.[7] He is the second President to come from the Northern Division (after Ratu Penaia Ganilau).[2] Katonivere took the oath of office in front of Speaker Epeli Nailatikau and was awarded the 100 men Guard of Honour.[12]

On 22 November 2021, Katonivere opened the new session of Parliament and delivered his key note address.[13] He urged all eligible Fijians to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and warned about sudden price hikes in anticipation of borders reopening on 1 December 2021.[14][15] He also supports the work of government for equality.[16]

Electoral history[edit]

2021 Fijian presidential election[edit]

Katonivere was nominated as the FijiFirst government's candidate for the position of president of Fiji by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama,[17] while Teimumu Kepa was nominated by Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya.[18] He was able to gain the support of a majority of MPs in the first round of voting, thus defeating Kepa.[19] An opposition MP, Mosese Bulitavu of SODELPA, had also voted for Katonivere.[20]

Candidate Party Parliament
Votes %
Wiliame Katonivere FijiFirst 28 54.90%
Teimumu Kepa SODELPA 23 45.10%
Abstentions and uncast ballots 0 -
Total 51 100.00%
Sources: The Fiji Times

Personal life[edit]

Katonivere was born on 20 April 1964 at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva to Ratu Soso Katonivere and Samanunu Boteiviwa as the youngest out of seven siblings. He attended Draiba Fijian School before completing his secondary education at Bua College in 1981.[21] Katonivere hails from the village of Naduri, Macuata in Vanua Levu.[22] He is married to Filomena Katonivere and they have two children and three grandchildren.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ratu Wiliame Katonivere set to be Fiji's next president". RNZ. 21 October 2021. Archived from the original on 5 April 2022. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Ratu Wiliame Katonivere sworn-in as Fiji's new Head of State". FijiTimes. Archived from the original on 12 November 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  3. ^ Fijivillage. "Ratu Wiliame Katonivere is new Tui Macuata". www.fijivillage.com. Archived from the original on 21 October 2021. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  4. ^ a b "New President Naupoto Or Ratu Wiliame?". Archived from the original on 5 November 2021. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b "President Elect relinquishes posts". Fiji Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 11 November 2021. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  6. ^ "From canecutter to Fiji's president". FijiTimes. Archived from the original on 14 November 2021. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  7. ^ a b Fijivillage. "Ratu Wiliame sworn in as Fiji's new President". www.fijivillage.com. Archived from the original on 12 November 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  8. ^ a b "New President sworn in". Fiji Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 12 November 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Ratu Wiliame Admitted To Office As President, Takes Formal Oath". Archived from the original on 30 July 2022. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  10. ^ "Tui Macuata For President". Archived from the original on 24 October 2021. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  11. ^ "Ratu Wiliame is Fiji's new Head of State". Fiji Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 25 October 2021. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  12. ^ "President's inauguration a joyous day for the people of Vanua Levu – Ratu Peni". FijiTimes. Archived from the original on 12 November 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  13. ^ "New session of Parliament underway". Fiji Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 29 July 2022. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  14. ^ N, Edwin; FBCNews. "President urges fringe groups to vaccinate". Fiji Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 25 November 2021. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  15. ^ N, Edwin; FBCNews. "President warns against sudden price hikes". Fiji Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 22 November 2021. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  16. ^ N, Edwin; FBCNews. "I will support State efforts for equality: Ratu Wiliame". Fiji Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 22 November 2021. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  17. ^ "Rabuka lauds appointment of Fiji's new head of State". FijiTimes. Archived from the original on 26 October 2021. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  18. ^ Fijivillage. "Ratu Wiliame Katonivere is Fiji's next President". www.fijivillage.com. Archived from the original on 5 November 2021. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  19. ^ "Tui Macuata Is President Elect". Archived from the original on 22 October 2021. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  20. ^ Fijivillage. "I voted for Ratu Wiliame Katonivere to be the next President to represent the wishes of those that had sent me to Parliament both in 2014 and 2018 - Bulitavu". www.fijivillage.com. Archived from the original on 5 November 2021. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  21. ^ "Choice a blessing from God". FijiTimes. Archived from the original on 26 October 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  22. ^ "New President to be elected today". Fiji Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2 November 2021. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  23. ^ "Chief: Never Dreamt It". Archived from the original on 26 October 2021. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
Political offices
Preceded by President of Fiji
2021–present
Incumbent