Fijian political parties, leaders up campaigning efforts as general election looms

Despite the dancing and festivities in Fiji leading up to next week’s general election, Fiji First leader Frank Bainimarama is taking no prisoners.

"When you are down and out you vote for a party that will be with you all time," the Fijian Prime Minister said while campaigning.

"For those of you who do not want violence, do not vote for Sodelpa."

Bainimarama’s warning was talking about Sodelpa party leader Sitiveni Rabuka who, like him, once took military control of Fiji.

But Rabuka told 1 NEWS his leadership skills has changed.

"I have learned from the coup," he said,

"Although I said in 1987 there was no other way, there is a way [now]."

He's gathering support from local chiefs while his party is promoting traditional Fijan values and culture, including bringing back the great council of chiefs.

The council was deliberately abolished by Bainimarama because he claimed they were elitist and divisive - Fiji First sees Rabuka as a threat to equality.

But the opposition says its being muzzled by the government.

"With us, it’s very difficult to get a permit," opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa told 1 NEWS.

"We can’t meet in a public place - that's why we have to meet in the village green or a church hall - although Fiji First are able to meet anyway and have a family fun day anywhere."

Fiji First sells itself on a modern Fiji while Soldelpa prides itself on looking to the grassroots - its campaign more community orientated.

So far, political polls have put Bainimarama's Fiji First in front but its not over yet.

The country will cast its vote on Wednesday.

PM Frank Bainimarama is facing off against another former coup leader, who says it's not an equal playing field. Source: 1 NEWS