Elections: Looking Back and Forwards

Report found massive faults in 2006 elections
Friday, December 02, 2011
A report on the 2006 elections has pointed out major faults during the campaign. elections.

The report was compiled by the EU Electoral Observer Mission that was present in Fiji at that time.

Attorney General and Elections Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum highlights the anomalies - at this afternoon's session of the AG's Conference currently underway at the Fijan Resort in Sigatoka.

Faults were found in the registration of voters resulting in hundreds of people missing out on voting.

"The new registrar of voters suffered from several shortcomings. These included the mispelling of voters names, wrong constituency allocation and the failure to register a great amount of voters. For example - in Labasa - approximately 700 voters were incorrectly registered in wrong constituencies. In the Nadi, Lautoka and Ba constituencies approximately 19,00 voters were incorrectly registered. As a result of such errors a relevant number of voters were deprived of their right to vote in a fifth of the polling stations observed."

The report also highlights that the deadline for the publication of the official register of voters were not respected. It also pointed out that ballot papers printed had several deficiencies.

"The Office of the Supervisor of Elections- contrary to the Constitution Requirements Article 4 - provided only ballot papers in English to the voters - thereby placing at disadvantage voters who are only literate in only Fijian and Hindustani. Secondly - the quality of the paper used was so poor - that the offical stamp on the back of the papers were visible on the front side - thereby obsecuring some party symbols. The placing of party symbols below the line next to the box for ticking the candidate was confusing as political parties told their voters to tick next to their party symbols. The above the line and below the line section of the ballot papers were not well enough separated and indicated."

It also noted the type of ballot boxes used.

"The Office of the Supervisor of Elections used old traditional wooden ballot boxes in three different sizes. Although sealed - political parties complained that most ballot boxes had sufficient gaps between the lid to allow ballot papers to be inserted."

It also criticised the campaign - which it says was ethnic dominated.

"The ethnicity dominated campaign was aggravated by the presence of 46 communal constituencies out of 71 - where voters must vote of the face of enthic origin. These ethnically determined constituency encouraged candidates to introduce an ethnic dimension into their campaigning. Inter-ethnic issues such as poverty, education, economic growth, water, roads and unemployement and eletricity were rarely addressed as common issues."

The report also noted tense situations during the campaign and elections process.

"During the campaign - one issue which emerged relating to a possible FLP victory was whether the country would respect the rule of law or if the election of another Indo-Fijian PM would again precipitate a coup. In the final days of the campaign - the Indeginous Fijian leader Qarase publicly raised oconcern that the election of an Indo-Fijian PM would lead to further civil unrest. The issue of ethnicity remains very sensitive given Fiji's recent coups and the short term political gains could widen the diviison between the two main ethnic groups."

According to the report - the local dailies were also fault during this time.

"The FT, FS and FDP newpapers failed on several occasions to abide by Provisons est in sect 133 and 134 in the Electoral Act by publishing electoral advertisements withoutthe headline -advertisement and in some cases omitting the name of the person who authorised the advert. More over - the campaign silance period ws violated by the publication of paid ads by FLP Coalition of Indpendt Nationals and Assmbly of Christian CHurchs in Fiji in the 3 nationa newspapers. A day after only the FDP publisher clarifcation apoligised by the oversight and non-intentional adverts by the COIN and FLP."

The report has recommended that the number of polling days should be reduced to only one to increase accountability and transparency.

Government focuses on new constitution, electoral laws
Friday, December 02, 2011
The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum Taken from / By: FBC News

The government will focus on drafting the new constitution and the new electroal laws in the next 2 years says the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He says the new constitution will ensure the events of 2006 are not repeated.

Sayed-Khaiyum was speaking at the two-day AG's Conference at the Fijian Resort with the theme "Legal issues in accountability and rights."

Christopher Chand has more.

"In his opening address - the AG Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says there will no longer will be enthnic voting in Fiji.

He says many powers that have been given to ministers in the past are slowly being taken away.

The conference will have an input in the drafting of the Code of Conduct for Public Office holders.

This law will be implemented before the consultation of the new constitution commences.

This will require the President, the Prime Minister , Ministers and civil servants to make public their assests and liabilities."

Report by : Christopher Chand


Kai Gau said…
This will require the President, the Prime Minister , Ministers and civil servants to make public their assets and liabilities."

Right...maybe Epeli, Voreqe, Aiyaz etc can lead by example and declare thier assets and liabilities accumulated since 2006. This should include the back-pay claimed by Voreqe when he stole the people's government from the people.
Anonymous said…
@ Kai Gau

It should also include Qarase and all his shady dealings with Fijian Holdings, especially his family company 'Q10' which owns more shares in Fijian Holdings than any other province in Fiji.
sara'ssista said…
@ Anon...Yes it should apply to all without exception, but i note you were quick to deflect attention to someone who is not in the regime. (and is still yet to found guilty of anything, actually) and what's the bet it doesn't apply retrospectively?? Do as we say not as we do ?
Anonymous said…
Its not only the issue of the volume and type of shares Qarase holds, but the fact that he was the GM of FDB at the time and was able to engineer the timing of - finance and dividend payments for himself and the elite who were in the know.

Nice dividend payments when the company you have invested in is given a government grant.

Maybe not be strictly illegal but conflict of interest big time.

The thing is, was this deal advertized so all Fijians could have a fair and equal opportunity.
No. don't think so.mogral
Cicero said…
The European Union Observer Mission were present one minute (at an hotel opposite Nadi International Airport) happy to be entertained to drinks. Then, when the objectionable behaviour broke out, they disappeared.

Just like that! Well educated, experienced in Africa and other demanding places, they apparently took too little note of what was breaking out around them. Under their very noses. They cannot claim they were ill-informed. Or that they were under prepared as to what they might expect.

They were not.

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