Sidiq Koya

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The late Sidiq M. Koya was an Indo-Fijian politician and veteran Opposition leader. He succeeded to the leadership of the mostly Indo-Fijian National Federation Party (NFP) on the death of the party's founder, A.D. Patel, in October 1969, remaining in this post until 1977. He later served a second term as leader of the NFP, from 1984 to 1987.

Koya is credited with his role in paving the way for Fijian independence from Britain in 1970. The National Federation Party, which represented mostly Indo-Fijian voters, had been opposing plans for independence without radical changes to the constitution, fearing ethnic Fijian domination; in particular, the NFP wanted a legislature to be elected by universal suffrage from a common electoral roll of all voters - a demand rejected by the main ethnic Fijian politicians, who wanted a communal franchise with parliamentary seats allocated among the different ethnic groups, elected from ethnic electoral rolls. Sidiq Koya was more willing to compromise than most Indo-Fijian politicians, and he was decisive in persuading his party and his people to accept independence with a communal franchise.

He led his National Federation Party (NFP) to a narrow victory in the elections of March 1977, and should have become Prime Minister, but internal party strife resulted in the Governor General, Ratu Sir George Cakobau, calling on the defeated Prime Minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, to form a new government. A second election to resolve the impasse was held in September that year, resulting in a heavy defeat for the NFP. Koya lost his parliamentary seat.

Regaining his seat in the general election of 1982, Koya returned to the leadership of the NFP in 1984. He served in this role until 1987, when the NFP formed an electoral coalition with the Fiji Labour Party, under the leadership of Timoci Bavadra.

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