The only overseas observer to put a positive spin on recent events is Australia's Lowy Institute analyst Jenny Hayward Jones. She expressed disappointment in Government's withholding of the Ghai draft but went on to say that the 7,000 people who made submissions to the Constitution Commission "now have a taste again for what it means to participate in a democracy. If the eventual constitution or future system of government does not give them a voice or trashes the ambitions they had proposed for their new constitution, they are unlikely to be happy about it." They would now also be able to compare the Ghai and revised drafts.
Despite the setback, she hoped international actors including Australia should continue to press for progress in re-establishing democracy in Fiji and engage where they can to maintain momentum in the process. The process will very likely continue to involve backward steps, but the forward steps (as long as there are some) still need to be encouraged. Fiji may end up with a flawed democracy but it wouldn't be the first flawed democracy to participate in international forums and enjoy stable diplomatic relations with the world's powers. Many flawed democracies have improved over time and even though Fiji has a way to go, there has at least been a public discussion about the future, which cannot be undone.
* Spinning Jenny. A mid-18th Century invention that enabled workers in the cotton industry to spin eight spools of yarn at the same time. Efficient, timely, productive.