Rabuka, also a former coup leader, governs with 29 MPs – 21 from his People’s Alliance, five from the National Federation Party and three from the Social Democrat Liberal party. FijiFirst has 26 MPs in opposition.
Bainimarama, who refers to the governing coalition as a “three-uneven-legged stool”, said FijiFirst would nominate Inia Seruiratu to lead the parliamentary party, but he would retain power.
“Please be assured that I will still continue to be the leader of FijiFirst,” he said.
“I want to assure all our supporters and all Fijians that you will be seeing more of me on the ground as I engage with you to listen to your needs, wants and concerns.”
Seruiratu held several ministries including defence in Bainimarama’s government.
Bainimarama closed his five-minute Facebook video with a shoutout to the country’s rugby sevens side, which won Olympic gold at the past two Games but struggled at recent World Sevens meets.
The 68-year-old likened the team’s fortunes to his party’s, saying “as we all know, the sevens team under our leadership symbolised unity and nationhood that was and can still be achieved”.
“I would like to encourage our sevens team not to lose hope despite recent setbacks. I know it has been tough.”