One Man, One Vote, One Value Part II: Other Types of Electorates
By Crosbie Walsh
The smaller rural iTaukei provinces had to be over-represented. A further disadvantage was that, however rearranged, some provinces and electorates would be overwhelmingly iTaukei or Kaindia, and that this division would hinder multi-ethnic and pro-Fiji work inside and outside parliament. The association with provinces by iTaukei was recognized but it was thought several structures outside parliament, most notably the Provincial Councils, could meet this need. Finally, in looking forward to the shape of a new parliament, I acknowledged the recommendations of the People's Charter, Government's non-negotiable principles, and the views still being expressed to the Constitution Commission, and proposed 15 values and issues, listed at the end of the article, that need to be taken into account. In the discussion which follows the first principle, proportional representation: one man one vote one value, is taken as acceptable to all Fiji citizens. The problem is how to accommodate other interests such as a smaller parliament, similarly sized and representative electorates, voter identification with candidates and MP accessibility.
In this article I will first make one last effort to use the provinces as electorate bases. This will be followed by considering the 25 Open electorates used since the 1999 elections as possible bases and finally we will consider Fiji's four administrative divisions to see how well they satisfy the 15 values and issues.
Electorates Based on Provinces
In Table 4, we have an essentially one man one vote one value system based on proportionality according to provincial populations with two important modifications: Five “reserve” seats are set aside for the smaller provinces, to which Navosa, that wants separate recognition from Nadroga, have been added. And a further three reserve seats, the same as in the 2006 elections for General Voters have be set aside for the ethnic minorities, but this time separate recognition is given to Part-Europeans, Other Pacific Islanders, and Europeans/Chinese. The separation is not perfect but it is an improvement on their sharing of the one General Voters umbrella.