Fijian soldier and politician, prime minister 1992–99. When the April 1987 elections produced a new left-of-centre government, headed by Timoci Bavadra, which was determined to end discrimination against the country's ethnic Indian community, Rabuka staged two successive coups, in May and September of that year. Within months of the second coup, he stepped down, allowing a civilian government headed by Kamisese Mara, to take over. In 1992 Rabuka was nominated as the new Fijian premier. He was re-elected to the post in 1994 and, after revising the constitution so as not to discriminate against the ethnic Indian community, secured Fiji's re-admission to the Commonwealth in October 1997. He stood down as prime minister in May after defeat in the general election. He then became chair of the Great Council of Chiefs, but was forced to resign in 2001 after being accused of complicity in the 2000 Fijian nationalist coup against the president and prime minsiter.
Born in Nakobo, Rabuka joined the Fijian army at an early age and was trained in New Zealand, Australia, and at the Sandhurst military academy, England. He commanded a unit of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon 1980–81, for which he was awarded the OBE. In May 1987 Rabuka removed the new ethnically bipartisan Fijian government at gunpoint, leading to inter-ethnic violence, but Governor General Penaia Ganilau regained control within weeks. In July 1987 Rabuka introduced a new constitution that favoured the ethnic Fijian community and in September 1987 he staged a second coup, in which Fiji was proclaimed a republic and withdrew from the British Commonwealth. He gave way to a civilian government in December 1987, but retained behind-the-scenes control as home affairs minister, in charge of the army and security. Rabuka founded the Fijian Political Party (FPP) in 1991, which secured victory in the 1992 general election, enabling him to become prime minister in May 1992. He became chair of the Cakaudrove Provincial Council in 2001.