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.