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|Puzzled voter 1|
|Puzzled voter 2|
Now there are more dire predictions, this time on the outcomes of the Electoral Decree. There's going to be complete chaos on September 17. Here's an extract from his article. To read the whole article, click here.
"The voting nightmare. There are hundreds of thousands of voters throughout Fiji, who may have great difficulty in finding their preferred candidate on such a large ballot paper with 280 names and numbers."
But this time Wadan has got it all wrong and I really can't understand why he didn't check the true position before launching into this posting.
These are the facts as I understand them:
1. A month out from the election, every candidate will be given a number drawn, lotto style, from a barrel.
2. For the last four weeks, they will campaign with that number.
3. On polling day, voters will go into the booth and be confronted with a big sign that has all the candidate's names, their photos and their numbers.
4. The ballot paper will have only the numbers, all in grids on one page ( there's an illustration in the actual decree )
5. The voter will circle, cross or tick the number of their preferred candidate. And that is that.
Obviously, with upwards of 250 candidates, having all of their names and photos on a ballot paper was simply impractical.
How it will work is that in the last four weeks, the candidates will all be saying " I'm So-and-so , number 264 (or whatever). Vote for me". Voters are required to choose just one number/person.
Then the votes are allocated to the parties on a mathematical formula also employed by a range of countries who follow the same system. If you get 60% of the vote, you are allocated 60% of the seats in Parliament. If someone scores highly across the nation, his party list benefits and indeed some of his candidates may not necessarily poll well at all individually.
In the case of independents, they have to score 5% of the vote (25,000 plus ) to get up but if they do, they are guaranteed a seat. Obviously, the system favours parties over independents but it's designed that way to prevent the Balkanisation of the Parliament and ensure workable governments.
I wonder whether Wadan, or Fiji Today that published his article, will publish a retraction. Errors and misinformation like this, widely circulating on linking blog sites, picked up by regime opponents in the international media, and passed on by word of mouth, do nothing to help democratic outcomes. Indeed, this may be the intention of some people. -- ACW