Mahendra Choudhary - Former Prime minister of Fiji

Mahendra Pal Chaudhry (born 9 February 1942) is a Fijian politician (of Balhara descent) and the leader of the Fiji Labour Party. Following a historic election in which he defeated the long-time former leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, the former trade union leader became Fiji's first Indo-Fijian Prime Minister on May 19, 1999, but exactly one year later, on May 19, 2000 he and most of his Cabinet were taken hostage by the hardline Fijian nationalist leader George Speight, in the Fiji coup of 2000. Unable to exercise his duties, he and his ministers were sacked by President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara on May 27; Mara intended to assume emergency powers himself but was himself deposed by the military leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama. After 56 days in captivity, Chaudhry was released on 13 July and subsequently embarked on a tour of the world to rally support. He was one of the leading voices raised in opposition to the Qarase government's proposed Reconciliation and Unity Commission, which he said was just a mechanism to grant amnesty to persons guilty of coup-related offences. In January 2007 he was appointed as Minister of Finance, Sugar Reform Public Enterprise and National Planning in the interim Cabinet of Commodore Frank Bainimarama, following another coup. Chaudhry is also co-chair of the task force focusing on economic growth within the National Council for Building a Better Fiji.

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