China views Fiji land “not as accommodation, but to secure residency permits”

Many Chinese investors are beginning to turn their attention to overseas real estate markets during the domestic real estate investment downturn.

According to analysis conducted by the organizing committee of the Beijing International Property Expo, 15 percent of potential buyers said they would consider buying overseas properties.
However, due to the decline of the domestic livable index, island nations including Cyprus, FIJI,  Mauritius, Thailand and other emerging market countries were becoming increasingly popular with investors, mainly for their attractive scenery and low living and property costs.
In addition, more and more Chinese people are opting for overseas properties not as accommodation, but to secure residency permits.

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/98649/8602109.html

FLP doubts reported support by Fiji Sun.

The Labour Party’s northern manager, Surendra Lal, says he would be very surprised if cane farmers in the North were to support the Bainimarama regime considering the hardship and difficulties they have faced in the past seven years.

The Labour Party, which traditionally has had strong support among cane farmers, says according to its sources in Seaqaqa there may have been about 30 people when the regime leader visited, and most were shoppers.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/242032/fiji-labour-party-doubts-regime-support-among-cane-farmers

Who on earth is Ashwin Raj? Part I…… by Marc Edge.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

 

Who on earth is Ashwin Raj? Part I

The new Chairman of Fiji’s Media Industry Development Authority, Ashwin Raj, has been cracking the whip on the nation’s press – and even on overseas journalists – ever since his appointment last year. His stridency is in sharp contrast to the style of his predecessor, FNU literature scholar Professor Subramani, who kept a low profile and seemed reluctant to carry out the regime’s media diktats.

Ashwin Raj lays down the law to Fiji’s media

Raj apparently suffers no similar compunction about playing the role of media commissar, and his assault on the press, both foreign and domestic, over the past six months has been dizzying. Basking in his new-found limelight, the previously obscure Raj has unleashed a vocabulary that would drive even the most erudite faculty member to a dictionary. By attempting to impress with polysyllabic prowess, however, the diminutive failed academic displays an intellectual inferiority complex that is as enormous as it is obvious.

Raj first moved against Fiji’s media last October, when he announced that MIDA would set up a media monitoring unit to ensure that coverage of the coming election campaign will be balanced and unbiased. He also announced that freelancers, public relations operatives, and foreign journalists in Fijiwould henceforth have to register with MIDA and follow the regime’s restrictive Media Decree. The Cook Islands-based Pacific Freedom Forum spoke out against the added restrictions as “another layer of scrutiny in what is already a tightly regulated media environment.” Some Fijimedia actually dared to report on that story, which apparently led to a sharp private rebuke from Raj.
At the annual Attorney-General’s conference in December, Raj lashed out against those who saw the Media Decree as an attempt to gag the press.

Alarmingly, little effort has been made to actually enter the protocols of the Decree and read through its provisions, which provides a nuanced framework for the enforcement of media standards. If media holds the State accountable, the question then is ‘who guards the guard?’ What legal recourse does the public have in the event that the media has wronged them?

But these were merely appetizers for Raj’s showdown with journalists in the New Year. At the Pacific Islands News Association conference in Noumeain February, he took umbrage with ABC journalist Sean Dorney telling an interviewer that some there felt the press in Fiji “wasn’t as free and open . . . as it should be.” At a social function that evening, Raj reportedly went off on Dorney, who had also privately urged that PINA should stand up more for press freedom, calling him a two-faced “Janus” and promising that he would never be allowed back into Fiji. He followed that up with a letter of protest to the ABC’s Managing Director that threw around howlers like “asseverated,” and “epistemic,”as if to show the Australians how intelligent he was. “Mr Dorney’s lucubration’s [sic.] are mired in generalisations without any substantiation,”railed Raj, who simultaneously deemed MIDA a rousing success with regional governments. “Five months into my appointment, MIDA is beginning to enjoy the trust and confidence of the international community.”

The silliness continued in what can only be described as MIDA’s own version of March Madness. Unable to extract retribution against Dorney, Raj dragged into his feud the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme, which is funded by the ABC administered by ABC International, forcing it to cancel a planned workshop for journalists in Fiji. Raj then demanded that PACMAS distance itself from the ABC and Dorney. In outlining his independent media monitoring unit of “people who have a wealth of experience in the media industry,” Raj then announced that he would also require all media outlets to disclose their editorial policies. “I need to know why certain letters get published at the exclusion of others.” The craziness recently culminated, of course, when Raj could simply stand no more of the Fiji media’s insolence and insubordination. After Fiji TV reported a speech by a chief in the prime minister’s home province that pointed to ethnic divisions in Fiji society, Raj deemed it hateful and summoned the press for a stern tongue lashing, even admonishing assembled journalists for discussing such issues on social media like Facebook.

All of which begs the question, who on earth is Ashwin Raj? He has absolutely no media experience in his background, from what I can tell, and as such he would be highly unlikely to enjoy even a scintilla of confidence among members of the industry he regulates. His most extensive media experience, it seems, comes from reading newspapers and authoring the occasional response. “I would engage with the media as a bystander,” he has explained. “I’d write letters to the editor.”His lack of expertise on media issues is painfully obvious, and his independence is highly suspect. “I’ve got a six member board that keeps me accountable,” he has said, yet the membership of MIDA – which is supposed to include representatives of women, children, and consumers, in addition to the Solicitor-General and someone with media experience – is apparently a closely-guarded state secret.

He is also not a lawyer, as he freely admits, which you would think might come in handy for someone tasked with administering a regulatory act. “I’ve always read law from the perspective of society,” he reasoned for journalists.

It’s one thing to have pure, legal interpretation of the law and another to say, well what does it mean for society and how does society think through legal instruments? Law means nothing unless and until it materializes in the lives of people.

So what do we know about Ashwin Raj and his actual accomplishments? Does he have any to his credit? It is highly unlikely that any journalist in Fiji would dare investigate, much less report on his background, or lack thereof, under the current reign of media terror over which Raj presides. That leaves it to this blog to find out what is known about him and publicize it in order to put the current media climate in Fiji into context. In his day job, Raj is a mid-level administrator at a regional university. He comes from an extremely modest background, being born to a Muslim seamstress and a Hindu gardener (at Marist Brothers school) and raised in a Vatuwaqa shack. His parents’ elopement apparently caused his mother to become estranged from her family, which objected to the mixed union, and caused no small amount of distress for young Ashwin. He came out as gay a few years ago and was active in the Drodrolagi movement which advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer rights in Fiji until quitting the group a couple of years ago. He then began to ingratiate himself with the regime and has been advancing within it rapidly. He delivered the opening address to the 2012 Attorney General’s conference (at about the same time that I was being hounded out of Fiji), at which he declared his admiration for the regime’s “surgical strike” in 2006. Within a few months, he had been elevated as the Master of MIDA.

Ashwin Raj in Hawai’i

Ashwin Avinesh Raj holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Hawai’i, which he attended from 2002-05 on a United States-South Pacific Islands scholarship to the East-West Center. He then enrolled in doctoral studies at Australian National University’s program in Pacific and Asian History, where he began work on his dissertation topic: “Allegories of the Human: Rights of Indentured and ‘Free’Indians and the Production of Humanity, 1879-1937.” That is where his academic career went off the rails, however. Despite spending a year doing research in the Fiji Archives, Raj proved to be all talk and no action, failing to submit even one chapter of his doctoral thesis. He was eventually required to leave Australiaon the expiration of his student visa in 2009.

Raj did prove to be a prolific letter writer during his time in Canberra, however, and some of his submissions to the Fiji Times belie his current complicity in the regime. “Instead of channelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to investigate the media and institute meaningless commissions of inquiry that tell you the obvious,” he wrote in 2008 to criticise the Fiji Human Rights Commission, including its report on Fiji media by University of Hawai’i political scientist James Anthony, “that money would have been better spent feeding and clothing the poor and the homeless.” A letter published the previous year, however, provides an even more delicious irony given Raj’s current position in charge of the regime’s machinery of media repression. He began it in a manner eerily similar to his recent diatribe against the Fijimedia, which began: “I’m quite perturbed by the level of public discourse in Fijias we head towards the national elections.” His 2007 letter began: “I am perturbed by the mood of public discourse in relation to the political developments since the 2006 military takeover.

Rampant anti-intellectualism, purist and locationist jibes and the very curious rise of self selected moral entrepreneurs who give philanthropy without democracy now seem to be the dominant discourses of this particular strand of democracy propagated by the proverbial monkey of good governance called the “interim administration.”

Bainimarama and his A-G have done no wrong and cannot be accused of or blamed for anything – like for example the human rights abuses and the denial of citizen’s rights to democratic freedoms including that of free speech and free press under their watch

Editor,
In his letter titled ‘Foreign Policy’ in the Fiji Times (14/4) Christopher Griffin accuses Australia and New Zealand of ” seeing only what they wanted to see” in regards to the situation prevailing in Fiji under the Bainimarama government.
He even accuses “especially The Australian” of “distorted reporting” through “pathological character assassination of Bainimarama and his A-G”. [The two men who according to the democratic opposition in Fiji have been running the country through their diktats since the unlawful military takeover of 2006).
The way Dr Griffin goes on one could easily be led to believe Bainimarama and his A-G have done no wrong and cannot be accused of or blamed for anything - like for example the human rights abuses and the denial of citizen's rights to democratic freedoms including that of free speech and free press under their watch].
The Bainimarama military dictatorship – which is what it really is almost 8 years since the coup – has not produced any Auditor-General’s report in that period.
With his “objective” way of seeing things in Fiji I wonder if Dr Griffin has noticed that?
Perhaps he prefers to gloss over such matters for reasons best known to him.
I am sure Dr Griffin is familiar with the phenomenon called blame shifting.
That is precisely what he is doing in his letter – defending the Bainimarama dictatorship and shifting blame onto others.
It takes moral courage to put the blame where it rightly belongs.
Dr Griffin does not demonstrate that courage.
sincerely,
Rajend Naidu
36 Atlantic Blvd
glenfield 2167
Sydney
Ph – 0298227398

 

FBC assets sold cheaply overseas?

Hi

I wish to let you know about this piece of news that I have heard. I want this news to reach the public.
Mr. Robert Khan, the managing director of Radio Tarana in Auckland has been able to acquire FBC broadcasting equipment quite cheaply. This insider deal was between the current CEO of FBC (who incidently is the brother of the Attorney General).
What I want to know is that where has all the gear of the FBC gone? From what I have heard, all this gear is now being used my Mr Robert Khan for his new Radio station (105.4FM) in Wellington.
Did the Fijians get a fair price for all the gear and how was it valued and was this available to others in the industry?
I thought this current government was fair and just and promotes anti corruption.
And another thing, why is Mr Robert Khan on FBC’s payroll?
Fiji money being drained..
Very concerned Fijian

FIJI – CHECKERED HISTORY BUT BRIGHT FUTURE

 

By : Sachin Anand Balram

Andykam007@comcast.net

Fiji is relatively a very young country when compared with similar size countries around the world. The deed of cession was signed on October 10, 1874. British took over the reins from indigenous Fijians who had made no resistance mainly because British had arms and ammunitions. British made all kinds of promises to twelve prominent chiefs about betterment of Fiji. British gave them Bible to study and converted them into Christianity. For the next ninety six years, British ruled over the gorgeous Islands of the South Pacific. The inhabitants of Fiji of two major races tolerated lots of injustice, hardship and abuse at the hands of the British crown colony administrators. Nevertheless, some still argue that Fiji was better-off under the British rule because they managed to have law and order, they built basic infra-structure, they got the sugar industry on its feet, and they taught the locals about agriculture, commerce and industries. They provided basic education and training to professionals by enabling them to go overseas for training. Hospitals, roads, electrification, water supply needs were installed in major towns. Things were going well for the citizens of a small crown colony. The country was flourishing. But, there was strong undercurrent. The citizens of Fiji were getting fed up with British rule. Feelings of disdain, distrust, disenchantment were being expressed. The colonial administrators were taking care of only the bare necessities. The Governor and the local commissioners were suspects since they favored their supporters and sympathizers who were mostly Caucasians. The rich and famous were catered for according to their needs and whim.

 

As years passed, as the Fiji citizens became more intelligent and wise, it was felt by some sectors of the community that British were not doing enough for the country to make it a desirable place to work and live. Fiji was progressing but at a snail’s pace. It was felt that British were just interested to fill their own coffers from income derived from gold, sugar copra, manganese, tourism etc., The profits derived from the trade and sales of commodities were sent direct to London. It was widely believed that British were not genuinely interested in people’s welfare, health, education, creating jobs, raising the standard of living and so forth. Only token things were being done to improve the country. The British were just interested in having one more colony in the South Pacific, just like French. During those days, the expansion of British Empire was a demonstration of military strength, power, pride and prestige. The rest of mighty countries like Germany, Russia, China, Japan were fierce competitors.

 

As years elapsed and citizens of Fiji got more educated and sophisticated, they began to notice that British administrators were devising subtle policy of “divide and rule “. The idea was to keep the community fragmented so that there cannot be an organized rebellion. British administrators made sure that indigenous Fijians did not inter-mingle with Indo-Fijians. Indians were supposedly smarter, more creative and ingenious because of their history, background, culture, religion and heritage. And so, British thought that Indians should become businessmen, professionals, tradesmen and legislators. Indigenous Fijians were merely landlords and should focus on cultivation and producing food crops from their land. That is the reason when we went to town during my school days in Suva (back in early 1960s), we saw very few indigenous people but throngs of Indians on streets and inside the shops. When we went to offices (both government and private) we saw them full of Indian employees and very few Fijians. When we went to schools in major town centers, about ninety per cent were Indians. The Fijians were confined to their own villages in rural areas and provided with schools, churches, food markets, medical facilities within a close range of their villages. This type of “containment policy” of indigenous people created a rift between the two races. The landlords were not encouraged to venture too far from their land. On the other hand, Indians were encouraged to get training in trade, professions, to become merchants, administrators and were given senior civil service jobs. All this subtle favoritism of Indians led to feeling of hatred, envy and jealousy amongst the two races. Despite the fact, Fiji was known all

over the world as multi-racial society living in harmony during the decades of fifties and sixties, the truth of the matter was, there was lot of bitterness, hatred amongst the two races. The British governor and legislators just did not care and went along their merry ways.

 

Hence, from about 1965 – Fijian and Indian politicians were compelled to put before its people the idea of Independent Fiji. Localization, equality, racial parity, equal opportunity in employment, availability of more land to Indians became controversial topics. Federation and Alliance parties recruited both Indians as well as Fijians to be their candidates in elections. The two major political parties kicked this idea of Independence into full gear as the decade of sixties winded down. The common people of all races supported the idea of independence. The business owners supported it and professionals supported it. The super star leaders, like Ratu Mara and A.D. Patel were passionately in favor of getting independence from British. Consequently, after just couple of meetings in England with the queen and the members of the British parliament, Fiji was given its independence on October 10, 1970. This marked an end of an era of British rule. Almost one century of British rule, left Fiji in good shape both economically and politically. We cannot deny this fact no matter how much we hated British rule. The foundation of democracy was laid, the parliamentary form of government was implemented, and the law and order was effectively executed. The country was mature enough to pursue its own destiny. The reigns of governance was turned over to the people of Fiji to create and steer their own destiny. Ratu Mara was the handpicked leader by all races. Politicians were pumped up, people were energized, and the country was ripe for investment and development. The localization policy saw departure of expatriates. British administrators were replaced by Fiji people. Everything looked rosy. When Ratu Mara was asked by an Australian journalist to explain in one word what Independence will mean to Fiji and its citizens, the answer was given in one word. That word was “respect” – self-respect, respect for the country all over the world and respect for its citizens.

 

There was a good vibe amongst Fiji citizens immediately after the independence. Fiji people were confident that they will be able manage their own country. They had the ability and will to do it. British had trained and shown ways to organize, to administer our government, perform our civic duties and to run our businesses. We were even taught how to keep the entire country neat, clean and tidy. But, unfortunately, for the citizens of Fiji that feeling of empowerment achieved from independence did not last long. Only seventeen years of democratic rule and freedom with basic human rights under Alliance government was bestowed to people of Fiji.

 

The future had something else in store for Fiji. And, that something else was- wave after wave of political coups and military rules. Four coups in two decades is unheard of even in third world African countries. It does not matter what the coup perpetrators had in mind or how much they genuinely had intended to make the country a better nation. The facts, figures and datas show us that these coup leaders failed miserably in developing their loved country. Military leader’s development plans failed, economy teetered at the brink of bankruptcy, its military leaders became corrupt, major industries suffered to the point that they had to be subsidized heavily by the government. Above all, people of all races became frustrated, despondent, tired and restless. The result being massive migration, especially, by Indians who did not foresee much future for their children in Fiji no matter how educated they became. The economy slowed down, unemployment became rampant, corruption went out of control, businesses started to close, crime and violence increased sharply and people of Fiji started to live in fear. Fear of their lives, fear for their children’s future, and fear of being unemployed, fear of getting third class medical treatment if they became sick and fear of not having three square meals a day. During the last five years or so, things improved a tad but the basic necessities of life i.e. food, shelter, employment, good health providers and facilities are still looming large in the minds of Fiji citizens. Opportunities to better their lives by the younger generation were few and far between. Opportunities of getting good paying jobs came only once a blue moon, if ever in Fiji. But, Caucasians were being paid very well in private and public sector jobs. This is the main reason why there was massive “brain drain” from Fiji during last thirty five years or so. The number one reason people left in droves was more opportunities in other countries, be it Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada or England. In all of these countries, the indigenous Fijians and Indo- Fijians are doing extremely well. They have grabbed the opportunity proffered to them. They have worked with ambition, desire, drive and determination to better their lives. They could have done the same in Fiji only if given the opportunity.

 

So, the question arises- what has the Military rule era done for Fiji? The answer ought to be “not much “. If I was asked to review the overall condition of Fiji in 2014, my headline will read” regressive country with very unhappy people ruled by incompetent oligarchy”. The British rule had done much, much better job in running the country. One has to just look around to see that the country is still in the grasp of corrupt leaders, the economy is still teetering, unemployment is still very high and law and order leaves much to be desired. It is interesting to note here that all oppressive governments has one of their major policy goal to keep their citizens dependent on them by providing their citizens with relatively cheap food, shelter, housing and so forth. This is deliberately done because all oppressive governments want their citizens to be “dependent upon them “. They do this dependency thing because they want to stay in power. The argument goes like this “The people will keep us in power because they need us. How can they rebel when they are dependent upon us? ”. But these successive military governments of Fiji have failed miserably to even accomplish this basic policy goal of adequately feeding and clothing its people. And that is the reason why Bainimarama government is getting all sorts of flak and criticism from people of all walks of life.

 

Be as it may, fortuitously, the military rule era for Fiji is drawing to an end. The curtain is about to come down. Fiji is on the cusp of once again becoming a democracy. Only if the cheaters, fraudsters and power mongers do not rig the election process, there is little doubt in my mind that Fiji will once again get back on track of becoming a true democratic country. That is my dream. I am certain it’s the dream of thousands like me. One thing that needs to be remembered by all potential voters in Fiji is that no country that has military rule or used to have military rule ever flourished or developed to become a first class country. No country that has military-minded and trained president or prime minister has ever succeeded in running his country successfully. For example, look at Egypt, North Korea, Libya, Sudan, Mali, Pakistan and other Sub- Saharan countries like Uganda, Sierra Leone etc., They all experienced under a military ruler, major degradation of their living standards, curtailment of their basic human rights, high handed manner of justice (if any) and major restrictions in freedoms of speech, free press, travel and religious practices. All of these countries have abject poverty, uncontrolled corruption and unscrupulous politicians. All of these countries did have written constitution but it was rendered worthless when it got into the hands of oligarchy. Hence, voters of Fiji be forewarned and forearmed.

 

I do not have a crystal ball and cannot even remotely predict the election results in September. It is too early to even guess which party will do well. Until the manifestos of each party is reviewed and analyzed, in my eyes, all of the registered parties have a chance to win but campaigning has to be aggressive, issue-based and eloquently delivered to the masses.

 

What I do know- is that the young vocal, informed, intelligent and energized voters of Fiji will vote for a party that seriously promises an honest and responsive/responsible government, promises reasonable food prices, shelter, education, jobs and health care. The protection of its citizens against crime and violence should be on top of its target list. The mantra of the electable party should be “cheap food prices, good health, education, employment opportunities and a responsive/responsible government”. This is the message the citizens of Fiji have been dying to hear for decades from their politicians.

 

Thus, if a party really wants to win the election then the party candidates must hammer on these issues before the country heads to polls on September 17, 2014. Just talking about Mr. Bainimarama’s record of past eight years will not suffice. Personal attacks and bickering about petty matters and political mess-ups, crooked politicians will not get votes. Think about legitimate ways and means of winning the election. Make speeches about issues. Talk about how the country can be improved. Specify how an honest and responsive government will be created and put into action. Discuss how things are going to be done differently. Talk about transparency, talk about making Fiji more attractive place to invest, show people how the Land issues will get resolved, talk about being tough on those who commit crime etc., It is high time to hit on these key issues rather than dwelling on the past. One cannot win an election by mudslinging, calling names, threatening other candidates’with lawsuits and exposing Frank Bainimarama’s past records. He has done few very good things and he has also done things which were not at all beneficial to the country. So, dear politicians think about the future. Fiji has the framework, it has some very intelligent people, it has the resources, it has the charm and beauty embedded in its people and it is blessed with lots of natural beauty that very few island nations can brag about. Forget the past- let bygones be bygones; it’s time for change and fresh start. “Yesterday is gone but don’t stop thinking about tomorrow” should be the theme.

 

 

Our new Police Commissioner?

GENERAL JOHN GEORGE FIVAZ

 

GeneralGeorgeFivaz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General John George Fivaz joined the South-African Police in 1964 and underwent his basic police training at the Pretoria Police College. His duties over the span of his career include: patrolling, charge office duties, attending to complaints, crime detection, management, work study and police administration. He also commanded various units such as the detective branch in Harrington Street, Cape Town, the South-African Narcotics Bureau (SANAB) branch in Bloemfontein and Efficiency Services at Head Office, Pretoria. At the end of 1976 General Fivaz settled in Pretoria and became a member of the National Inspectorate of the South African Police. He was responsible for restructuring, decentralisation of authority and strategic planning.

In 1995, he was appointed National Commissioner of the South African Police Service by President Nelson Mandela. During this time, he faced the challenge of amalgamating the eleven police agencies of the past into one South African Police Service. He also had to manage the adoption of a new community policing initiative. He was also responsible for transforming the police service into an effective and democratic policing agency for South Africa. Furthermore, he also played a constructive role in the formation of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Coordinating Organisation (SARPCCO) in order to enhance co-operation between policing agencies in the Southern African region.

His academic qualifications include a BAdmin degree, which he obtained from the University of the Orange Free State in 1976. Apart from that he is also fully qualified as a work-study officer and police administrator.

Key Current and Former Positions
  • National Commissioner of the South African Police Service
  • George Fivaz retired in January 2000.
Areas of Expertise
  • Policing
  • Transformation
  • Administration
  • Command

More alledged Decree Breaches …….The police cannot say when their investigations will be completed.

Fiji’s Bainimarama accused more decree breaches

Updated at 3:20 pm today

The United Front for a Democratic Fiji says the regime leader, Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama, has committed further breaches of the Political Parties Decree.

The prime minister is already under police investigation for allegedly breaching that decree as well as a law which, if there is a conviction, can see him jailed and fined as well as disqualified from the election promised for September.

The UFDF says Rear Admiral Bainimarama is now in further breach for claiming to be the first candidate of his proposed party when there is no party structure in place to choose him as a candidate.

It also says by telling the Fiji Sun that election offices will be set up in Savusavu and Taveuni, he has exerted influence on the election office, which is supposed to be independent.

The UFDF has also called on the Chairman of the Media Industry Development Authority, Ashwin Raj, to take immediate steps to stamp out the Fiji Sun’s ongoing daily breaches of the Media Industry Decree.

The police cannot say when their investigations will be completed.

The election supervisor has not commented on the reported breaches of the poll-related decree.

Coalition Government unless a Party gets 51% of the vote.

Allocation of seats in parliament

Fijian Elections Office
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

THE Electoral Commission will allocate seats in the parliament.

According to the Fijian Elections Office, this will be done following the submission of the national results tally by the Elections Supervisor to the commission.

Political parties and independent candidates must win at least 5 per cent of the total vote or they will not be eligible for a seat in parliament.

According to the Elections Office, if a political party clears the 5 per cent threshold, the number of seats it wins will be proportionate to the total number of votes it receives.

For example, if a party wins 60 per cent of the total vote, it will receive roughly 60 per cent of the seats in parliament.

According to the Elections Office, the process involves using a specific mathematical formula to calculate the exact number of seats to award a party based on the number of votes it receives.

Fiji’s formula is one that is used by at least 39 countries around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Netherlands, and Scotland and Spain

Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Retired) Voreqe Bainimarama tries to backtrack to avoid prosecution for campaigning without first registering his party.

PM: I Am The Only One

SOCIAL WELFARE MINISTER clarifies she has not applied, nor been nominated

Market vendors with the Prime Minister in Savusavu. Photo: Siteri Taleitaki

SITERI TALEITAKI
NASINU
I am the only confirmed candidate in my proposed FijiFirst party at the moment, Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Retired) Voreqe Bainimarama,” told villagers of Nasinu, Vanua Levu, yesterday.
The villagers had asked Mr Bainimarama about the other members of his proposed party, after village headman, Ponipate Savunacagi, had also asked him if the Minister of Social of Welfare, Dr Jiko Luveni, was a confirmed candidate.
The Prime Minister also said Dr Jiko Luveni was used as an example after villagers from Ono-i-Lau had questioned him if members of his Government would be likely candidates for his proposed party.
Also confirming these clarifications was the Minister of Social Welfare herself. Dr Luveni said: “I have not submitted any application nor was nominated. We’ll just have to wait when nominations are done.”
Dr Luveni said she was willing to be a candidate for the proposed party and hopes to carry on the work.
“But I will definitely apply once the party comes into place,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said members of his proposed party would be people who were willing to serve the people.
Mr Bainimarama is in Vanua Levu to collect 1000 signatures to help register his proposed FijiFirst Party. As per the Elections Decree, he needs to collect 5000 signatures – 2500 from the Central, 1500 from the West and 1000 from the Northern divisions – to register his proposed party.
Feedback: siteri.taleitaki@fijisun.com.fj

The proposed National Youth Party says it will register on April 25.

The proposed National Youth Party says it will register on April 25. It’s interim leader, Nayagodamu Korovou said they’ve chosen April 25 because this is the time most youths will be in Suva for the Coke games.
He said they have gathered well over 5000 signatures from the different divisions.
“After the declaration of our assets and liabilities, we want to get out there and roll out our manifesto,” Mr Korovou said.
He said: “We believe youths need to be represented well in the new government. When we talk about the future we are talking about our youths. The problem with our youths now is lack of employment and we think it is a direct consequence of the policies made up by former governments.”
He said older political parties have used youth votes to their advantage in the past elections but mostly forget them when they win the elections.
ROSI DOVIVERATA

If convicted, Frank could face up to 10 years in jail and a 27,000 US dollar fine.

Bainimarama probe outcome needs to be announced soon – academic

Updated at 4:31 am today

An academic on Fiji says the outcome of a police investigation against Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama needs to be announced soon because of its potential implications on the September elections.

The Fiji police have said they are investigating the regime leader for campaigning without having his party registered and displaying an emblem similar to the coat of arms on his campaign bus.

If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in jail and a 27,000 US dollar fine.

An Auckland University academic, Steven Ratuva, says depending on the outcome of the investigation, Rear Admiral Bainimarama may want to defend himself and the case could end up in court.

“It would need to be investigated pretty early, and whatever decision they’re going to make has to be quite early because it has implications in relation to the formation of a new party and also in relation to campaigns before the election.”

Mosese Tikoitoga

Can you give an assurance that there will be no further coups under this constitution?

Our job is to protect the constitution – coups or no coups – it is all enshrined in the constitution. It’s not the military’s wish to conduct a coup but it’s about ensuring we all abide by the same constitution. If people throw out the current constitution as current political parties are talking about – then they have thrown out the chance of avoiding coups. Everything that has been planned in the last seven years by the current government is to ensure we avoid any coups and this is enshrined in the constitution. That will be the answer to all the security questions people tend to ask.

http://www.islandsbusiness.com/2014/4/interview/mosese-tikoitoga-leadership-change-in-fijis-milita/

Fiji Sun caught out stirring with “close party sources”…..

Former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka is not the Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party.

Tabaiwalu is disappointed with an article in one of the dailies today which reported that Rabuka has been appointed SODELPA’s Deputy Leader.
SODELPA has also taken the matter to the Media Industry Development Authority.
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When contacted, Mr Rabuka said he knew nothing about the deputy party leader appointment
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EX FIJI SUN

Rabuka is Deputy Leader

The former prime minister will concentrate on securing votes in the Northern Division ROSI DOVIVERATA SUVA Fiji’s first coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka has been appointed Deputy party leader for the Social Democratic Liberal Party. This was confirmed yesterday by close party sources after a briefing was held at the party headquarters to brief candidates who [...]

FLP, NFP, SODELPA pleased with regular updates

 

April 15, 2014 06:18:52 AM

 

Fiji Labour Party, the National Federation Party and SODELPA have expressed their appreciation to the Electoral Commission and the Supervisor of Elections for the regular updates ahead of the September 17 elections.

Last Friday’s meeting in Suva was the third to be held with the Fijians Elections Office.

FLP president Lavenia Padarath says they now could see a clearer path atlhough there are still alot to be done.

“I think this has been lacking – the dialogue with those in power,” Padarath said.

“We are beginning to see that they are making progress and it was also an opportunity for us to voice our concerns.

“Things are clearer now. At one time we thought we were running out of time given the September 17 date. There were alot of improvements in the meeting.”

NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad said they were satisfied with the updates and the meetings because they were also able to voice their concerns.

He said the party would also work within the timeline set out by the Fijian Elections Office (FEO).

SODELPA general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu says their executives will need to go through the timeline and work out how it would be feasible for the party.

“It’s been very helpful, but it’s one thing to plan on paper and its another to implement.

“So, we will be liasing very closely with the Electoral Commission and the Supervisor of Election in this regard.”

Meanwhile, the parties still insist the ballot paper needs changing.

Tabaiwalu suggested that the Electoral Commission should write very strongly to the government to change the ballot paper.

“We need a simpler system to make it easier for every voter.

“In 2006 we had a huge number of invalid votes. With a system like this, the numbers could be higher.”

In the 2006 election, there were 74,855 invalid ballot papers or nine per cent of the total vote largely because of different interpretation of the Electoral Act and lack of voter education on the proper way to cast votes.

Elections Supervisor Mohammed Saneem had said voters would be taught on the conduct of elections, how to cast their votes and restrictions that applies prior to, during and before election day through an extensive voter education exercise to be carried out by the Fijian Elections Office.

FijiLive

Mr Tabaiwalu said their youth council president has had a traumatic experience with the military

poll buzz

SODELPA youth leader cautioned about bad language on social media

Social Democratic Liberal Party Youth Council president, Peter Waqavonovono, has been advised not to use derogatory and foul language on social media.
Party general secretary, Pio Tabaiwalu said they’ve advised Mr Waqavonovono about the matter. “He has deleted that particular post on twitter.”
Mr Waqavonovono used inappropriate words which is not the opinion of the party, Mr Tabaiwalu said.
“In fact he was using his personal twitter account.”
Mr Tabaiwalu said their youth council president has had a traumatic experience with the military which is why he came out with such statements. On twitter, Mr Waqavonovono attacked Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and his proposed FijiFirst party.
ROSI DOVIVERATA

SODELPA Candidates……Namosi chief Ratu Suliano Matanitobua and Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu

Top chiefs in SODELPA line-up

Ratu Suliano, Ratu Naiqama get the green light
AQELA SUSU
Suva
Two high chiefs have been included in the Social Democratic Liberal Party’s line-up for the September 17 poll.
Namosi chief Ratu Suliano Matanitobua and Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu are two of the party’s final candidates.
This was confirmed yesterday by the party’s vice-president, Silivenusi Waqausa.
“We are meeting with the candidates just to congratulate them for their effort,” Mr Waqausa said.
He said the party had already met with 20 of the final candidates and was supposed to have met with eleven others but only six turned up. Mr Waqausa said the party officials could not meet all the candidates at once because they were living at different locations in Fiji while some had commitments.
The briefing yesterday was a closed meeting.
Feedback: aqela.susu@fijisun.com.fj