Independence of the electoral process is a given – AG
The Citizens Constitutional Forum is calling for the setting up of an independent Constitutional Officers Commission as the appointing authority of the Electoral Commission and the Supervisor of Elections.
CCF Chief Executive Officer Reverend Akuila Yabaki said verbal assurance is not enough.
Reverend Yabaki said under the 1997 constitution, members of the Electoral Commission were appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister following consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition.
He said the 2013 draft constitution did not have the same guarantee of independence leaving the appointments mainly in the hands of the Prime Minister and the Attorney General.
When questioned by Fijivillage on this issue, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said they are moving ahead and all he can say is that some people are making comments from the sidelines.
Meanwhile, we also asked Sayed-Khaiyum about the assistance offered by countries like the US.
Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy Geoffrey Robertson told Fijivillage in an interview that the US government is ready to provide conditional assistance amounting to US$1 million to Fiji for the preparation of the 2014 elections.
Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji welcomes any assistance and the conditions set out are already a given in any democratic elections.
However, he said he is unaware of the amount offered by the US.
A Needs Assessment Team has now been set up to analyze everything that is needed to ensure that free, fair and credible elections is held by September next year.
Representatives from the European Union, the Commonwealth and Elections Office NZ will carry out the Needs Assessment from Monday and submit a report in two weeks.
Following this, the donors will decide on what to provide as assistance for elections.
Story by: Vijay Narayan