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Fiji lawmakers vote to install Sitiveni Rabuka as next prime minister

New leader favors Western-style democracy for pivotal nation amid US-China tensions

Sitiveni Rabuka is sworn in as the prime minister of Fiji in Suva on Dec. 24. (Leon Lord/Fiji Sun via AP)

WELLINGTON (Reuters) -- Sitiveni Rabuka became Fiji's prime minister on Saturday after a coalition of parties voted narrowly to install him as leader of the strategically important Pacific nation, signaling an end to Frank Bainimarama's 16 years in power.

Fiji has been pivotal in the strategically located South Pacific's response to increasing competition for influence between China and the United States, and Rabuka has said he favors Western-style democracy.

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