One day poll can be done: Fiji Electoral Comission Chair
From FIJI TIMES/MINFO/PACNEWS
News Wed 26 Feb 2014
SUVA, Fiji — Fiji’s Electoral Commission chairman Chen Bunn Young disagrees with critics that say a one day election is impossible.
Young said the commission had spoken to experts and consultants on holding a one day election and more details would become apparent in the Electoral Decree which was being drafted.
“And obviously its is our responsibility to educate the public on the one day election and that will be one of our priorities to ensure how this particular decree works and how polling will take place in one day,” Young said.
He said he was confident that the way the commission had proposed the draft electoral decree, election could be done in one-day.
Young earlier said the commission was reviewing the draft electoral decree given to the commission by the Attorney-General’s Office.
He said the commission would finish reviewing the draft decree in the next couple of days.
Young said the logistical arrangements of holding a one day election were ongoing and a challenge for the commission.
He said the commission would be talking to donors and conducting panel interviews for the key positions advertised.
Some political parties including SODELPA and FLP said a one day election was impossible given Fiji’s population and the vast land and sea area.
Meanwhile, 664 Fijian citizens came forward to register to vote in the 2014 General Elections during the recent registration drive in Australia, the first of its kind in Fiji’s history.
Over the course of the nine-day campaign, which ran from February 14th to February 22nd, five registration teams travelled to 49 locations around the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, the territories with the highest populations of Fijian citizens.
The teams visited Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as other major towns and cities, such as Adelaide, Liverpool, Penrith, Griffith, Ballarat, Banyo, and Cairns.
For the exercise, a total of 13 specialised staff were deployed from the Fijian Elections Office in Suva, supported by officials from the Fijian High Commission in Canberra and Fijian Consulate in Sydney.
The total cost of the Australian registration drive was $FJD115, 000 (US$61,000).
The Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said that the registration drive ran very smoothly, attributing its success to the hard work and careful planning of all involved.
“This campaign was well organised and well publicised, and we are satisfied that Fijian citizens living in Australia were given a very good opportunity to register to vote,” he said.
The Attorney-General explained that in addition to the widespread media campaign announcing the details of the registration drive, Fijians were also given the option to pre-register their interest in voter registration by submitting a form through the Elections Office’s website.
“Each person who submitted a form was contacted personally with the locations and opening hours of the registration centres,” he said.
The Attorney-General said that the Bainimarama Government has made it a priority to conduct Fiji’s first-ever voter registration drives for Fijians living overseas.
This includes those already held in New Zealand and Australia, with campaigns in the United Kingdom and the West Coast of the United States to follow later in the year.
“Giving Fijian citizens living overseas the opportunity to register is an important part of conducting elections that are free, fair and credible,” he said.