Voting As it Was
I was with a friend and conversation got around to the general elections.
He remembers when our polling station was at the Namaka Public School some years back. We were picked up by car and taken to the School.
One shed had grog and food and cigarettes were being given out free. We went in and sat down. The next shed was pretty empty and the people manning it looked forlorn.
After the elections the candidate from the shed that was empty won.
Yesterday he reminisced and said,
"Allen, nanuma na gauana ya, kanu, gunu yaqona i ke, tick sana kadua."
(Drink grog, eat and get free smoke here but tick the other shed.)
At around 4pm on Tuesday 26/8 a young man came to our gate and knocked. We invited him in and he said that he was from the Elections Office doing awareness on what to do on voting day.
We gave him time to speak and when he was finished someone asked a question to which he answered, "Isa, so sorry, I'm not here to answer political questions. I'm just here to make people aware about what to do on elections day."
The chap was polite, soft spoken and answered all relevant questions that we asked him about the elections. And he politely abstained from answering any political questions.
One thing we found out was that you only have two goes at voting. If you make a mistake, you can ask for a second copy. Make a third and you are out.
But we still would like to know how parliament will be formed.
Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Fiji. I thank Allen for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.
Note: Allen asks how parliament will be formed. Seats will be allocated to each party that has reached a 5% threshold on the basis of the total number of votes for all their candidates. There is a formula to work this out precisely but the general principle is that if a party wins 30% of the total votes, it will get 30% of the seats, 15 in the 50-seat parliament. Independent candidates will also need to pass the 5% threshold, that is, 5% of the total votes. (The threshold is also 5% in NZ where there have been calls to reduce it to 4%). Once in Parliament, the party with the most seats will form the Government. If they have under 25 seats, they will need the support of another party to give them a parliamentary majority. - Croz