Frank Bainimarama is the prime minister of Fiji and he was the one who led the coups of 2000 and 2006.
He was twice president, from May 29 to July 13, 2000 and from December 5, 2006 to January 4, 2007 after leading a coup d'etat on both occasions. His government from 2006 to 2007 was characterized by reprisal, total control of almost all powers and the death of two people, which caused Fiji to be suspended from the Commonwealth. He is currently the Prime Minister of Fiji.
Bainimarama's naval career spans three decades. He has received a number of honours for his service. He has been made an Officer Brother in the Order of St John of Jerusalem, and has received the Meritorious Service Decoration, the Peacekeeping Medal for United Nations peacekeepers, the General Service Medal, the Fiji Republic Medal, and the 25 Anniversary Medal.
Following his education at Marist Brothers High School, Bainimarama enlisted with the Fijian Navy on 26 July 1975 and rose smoothly through the ranks, becoming an Able Seaman in August 1976, a Midshipman in December the same year, and an Ensign on 1 November 1977.
After completing the Midshipmen's Supplementary Course in Australia, he was appointed Navigation officer of HMFS Kiro in August 1978. At the end of that year, he was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant. In January 1979, Bainimarama embarked on the Chilean naval training ship, the Buque Escuela Esmeralda, which spent six months circumnavigating South America. On his return to Fiji in August, Bainimarama was appointed Executive Officer of HMFS Kiro.
After a brief Navigation Course in HMAS Watson in March 1982, Bainimarama underwent Search and Rescue training at the United States Coast Guard Centre in New York City. On his return to Fiji, he was appointed commander of HMFS Kikau, his first command post. He went on to command HMFS Kula, and spent four months in 1984 in the markings of the Exclusive Economic Zones of Tonga, Tuvalu, and Kiribati. After being promoted to Lieutenant Commander in February 1986, he departed for Sinai where he served for eighteen months with the Multinational Force and Observers.
Bainimarama returned to Fiji in September 1987. He took charge of the delivery of two naval ships, the Levuka and Lautoka, from Louisiana in the United States. He became Commanding Officer of the Fijian Navy in April 1988, and was promoted to the rank of Commander on 4 October that year. He held this post for the next nine years.
Bainimarama underwent further training at the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College in 1991 and at the Australian Defence Force Warfare Centre at RAAF Williamtown, Newcastle, New South Wales, where he studied Maritime Surveillance Training. This was followed by Disaster Management training at the Asian Institute of Technology in 1993, and Exclusive Economic Zone Management training at Dalhousie University, Canada, in 1994. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in October of that year, and went on to attend the Australian Joint Services Staff College (JSSC). He attended the Integrated Logistics Support Overview course of the Australian Defence Co-operation Program on 23 September 1996, and the Chief of Army Conferences in Singapore in 1998 and 1999, as well as the Chief of Defence Conference in Hawaii.
Bainimarama was appointed Acting Chief of Staff on 10 November 1997, and was confirmed in this post on 18 April 1998. On 1 March 1999, he was promoted to the rank of Commodore and was named Commander of the Armed Forces, to replace Brigadier-General Ratu Epeli Ganilau, who resigned to pursue a political career. It was in his capacity as Commander of the Armed Forces that Bainimarama assumed command on 29 May 2000. He relinquished command on 5 March 2014, to Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga.
A group led by George Speight, a businessman who had been declared bankrupt following the cancellation of several contracts by the government, entered Parliament buildings on 19 May 2000 and disaffected elements of the Fijian population rallied to his side. For 56 days Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and most of his cabinet, along with many parliamentarians and their staff, were held as hostages while Speight attempted to negotiate with the President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, who denounced the coup and declared a state of emergency.
Believing that President Kamisese Mara was not dealing effectively with the situation, Bainimarama apparently forced Mara to resign on 29 May 2000, in what some politicians have since called "a coup within a coup," and formed an interim military government, which negotiated an accord under which the rebels would release all hostages, including the deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, and would surrender without penalty. The government later reneged on the last part of the agreement and arrested Speight on 27 July 2000, with Bainimarama saying that he had signed that part of the accord "under duress."
Bainimarama attended a Leadership and Change Management course with the Public Service Training and Development program in February 2002, and a Policy Planning Analysis and Management course at the University of the South Pacific in Suva the following month. He went on to attend the Defence and Strategic Studies Annual Conference at the Australian Defence College in Canberra on 2 August, and the Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security at Harvard University in the United States from 18 to 30 August. In November that year, he was promoted to Rear Admiral, but this promotion was reverted to Commodore on 1 February 2003.
On 4 September 2003, Bainimarama attended the Pacific Armies Management Seminar XXVII in Seoul, South Korea, and went on to attend the PKO Capacity Building Seminar in the Philippine capital of Manila.
Despite his deteriorating relationship with the government, Bainimarama was reappointed Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces on 5 February 2004. That month, he attended the Pacific Area Special Operations Conference. This was followed by the Seminar Executive Course at the Asia Pacific Centre for Strategic Studies in Hawaii in April. In May and June, he attended the South East Asia Security Symposium. In September, he attended both the PAMS XXVII in the Indian capital of New Delhi, and the 7th Chief of Defence Conference in Tokyo, Japan.
On 14 December 2005, Bainimarama began an official visit to China, at the invitation of the People's Liberation Army.