"The King is Dead! Long Live the King!"

by "Dr Kick", Vanuatu

As the processes for a return to democracy appear at long last to  perhaps actually be likely to happen, it may be worth noting this  basic principle of government:  "The King is dead!  Long live the

What this principle means is that a clear process for transitioning  rom one ruler to another is vital for a peaceful transition.  When  the succession is clouded, trauma can occur that disrupts life for large parts of society.

Examples include when there have been several Princely Contenders--or none--in centuries past; and more recently by Mr. Marcos not having a Vice President in the Philippines at the end of that nation's last experiment with Parliamentary government, 1978-86.  PNG offers an  interesting, but still occurring, variation on this problem.  This may be a more common problem in the Westminster format.

Fijians have often seen this basic rule.  Over the past 40 years, the post high chief of Cakaudrove has gone vacant for five or six extended periods.  The general peace that Fiji has enjoyed since Cession kept these 'vanua' transitions from devolving into serious internecine conflicts.

However, at the level of the nation-state, the matanitu, there are  fewer protections, fewer constraints, against conflict when there is a perceived power vacuum because of an unclear or non-existent
'future King'.

America has seen several of its Presidents leave office  unexpectedly--through death or resignation  Two of those occurred in the volatile period just before or after the end of a major conflict.  Because the US Constitution is short enough, most Americans have read and can understand the processes for transitioning from one leader to another.  Thus that nation's transitions from one leader to the next did have not created fears that might be exploited.

My worry with the "King is Dead ..." issue is that the uncertainties and potential power vacuum surrounding even a normal transition will be so much greater in this future case.


Posterity waits......... said…
Transitions to power may well be traumatic and Fiji has suffered sufficient trauma over the past twenty years to ensure that most sections of society are now residually affected to a greater or lesser degree. On St Patrick's Day and remembering 'The Troubles' of Eire and Northern Ireland - a day of adjustment and reckoning must come.

This has become most apparent in Dialogues which have been held since 2002 funded by EU, UNDP and other agencies. During a three day dialogue in February 2010, it was affecting, deeply moving to experience how traumatised some Police women were. This had been suppressed for over four years. Hardly good for the health of women in Fiji in professional positions. They require special support. They may not ably contribute their full worth if burdened with chronic pain which is mostly mental but may also result in physical symptoms. The Domestic Violence Decree reveals the daily burden many carry of abuse. This is heightened during instability.

Any transition must be made as seamlessly and smoothly as humanely possible. No one must stand in the way of this. Indeed, some must be prepared to step aside and divest themselves of gains they have acquired and accrued at the egregious expense of others: the long-suffering public of Fiji. Otherwise, we have been witness to nothing less than a transfer of wealth which is tantamount to obscene in its "In your face" audacity.

How to explain this to posterity? For posterity already waits.
The Once and Future King said…
"And many men say that there is written upon his tomb this verse:

Hic iacet Arthurus, rex quondam rexque futurus

Here lies Arthur, the once and future king"

Thomas Malory d 1471
Ram Sami said…
sightly off-topic Croz, but the King of Tonga is dead.
We trust our instincts said…
@ Ram Sami

Not slightly off the topic at all. We anticipated the death of HM The King of Tonga - we trust our instincts. "Rex Quondam".

Now we look to the "Rexque Futurus".

So what is in it for Fiji? And the posterity of all Fijians?
What the blazes.......... said…
The term 'citizenry' (so frequently in use today - whatever happened to the Plain English Society?)in fact refers to collective citizens.

The Shorter Oxford terms 'citizen' thus:

"An enfranchised inhabitant of a country as opposed to an alien".

Oh yes? Well now, is that not hugely of interest? Do you feel you are 'enfranchised'? Do you often feel you are 'an alien' ('vulagi)? In the very same country of which you hold a valid passport (if you are lucky?).

How sad, that Bermudians have their own passports and come and go without demur. So do Australians, Canadians, Jamaicans, South Africans, Indians and on and on. They are all enfranchised. What the blazes went so bloody wrong?

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