Chaudhry out of election race but still holds on to FLP leader’s position
Publish date/time: 09/04/2014 [07:12]
Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry cannot contest the September 17th election this year after his conviction however the Elections Office said it will only decide on this matter if Chaudhry files a nomination to contest the election.
The 2013 constitution clearly states that a person may be a candidate for election to parliament only if the person has not, at any time during the eight years immediately before being nominated, been convicted of any offence under any law for which the maximum penalty is a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more.
The same is stated in the Electoral Decree for candidate eligibility.
This means that 72 year old Chaudhry is out of the parliamentary elections for the next eight years as he has been convicted of three counts of breach of the Exchange Control Act.
The maximum penalty for the charge is two years imprisonment.
When questioned by Fijivillage on the matter, Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem said candidate eligibility will be determined by what is stated in the constitution and the Electoral Decree.
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Chaudhry can hold the Fiji Labour Party Leader’s post for now as the court is yet to decide on his sentence after the conviction.
Under the Political Parties Registration Decree, a person is disqualified from being an office holder of a political party if that person has, in the five years preceding the date when he or she applies to become an office holder of the political party, has been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a period of not less than 6 months.
Mitigation and sentencing for Chaudhry will take place on the 1st of May.
Chaudhry has not made any comments on his plans as yet.
Fiji Labour Party President, Lavenia Padarath could not be reached for a comment.
Story by: Vijay Narayan