First female speaker of Fiji Parliament dies at 72

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Dr. Jiko Luveni, the first female speaker of Fiji’s Parliament, has died in office at the age of 72.

Her death Saturday morning was announced by the Office of the Secretary-General to Parliament. No cause of death was released, but Luveni was said to have died after a short illness.

Luveni first served for eight years as minister for women, social welfare and poverty alleviation in the interim government of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup.

She won formal election to Parliament in 2014 and became Fiji’s first female speaker in October that year. She was re-elected in last month’s general election and retained the role of speaker.

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Luveni was also the first woman to graduate in dentistry from the Fiji School of Medicine.

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