‘Irregularities unlikely’ in Sept
Professor Wadan Narsey
Saturday, August 02, 2014
I suggest that most of these previous allegations were not evidence of “widespread electoral fraud” by either the SVT or SDL, but merely symptoms of government inefficiencies and a “bad” electoral system (giving and counting of preferences in the alternative vote system, “above the line” and “below the line” ambiguities).
* Lack of institutional knowledge by Supervisor of Elections.
* Elections Office lacking funding.
* Electoral officials favouring some party.
* Disenfranchisement of certain voter groups.
* Flawed registration processes.
* Lack of integrity in the electoral roll.
* The main voter roll not ready on time.
* Excessive ballot papers being printed.
* Old traditional wooden ballot boxes being used with “sufficient gaps beneath the lids to allow ballot papers to be inserted after the boxes were sealed.
* Inappropriate allocation of polling stations and ballot boxes.
* Only 12 per cent of polling stations were being headed by women.
* Composition of the polling staff not reflecting the balance of Fiji’s ethnic communities.
* High levels of invalid votes.
* No recount of some close votes.
I suspect that none of these allegations will have any relevance in the September 2014 election.
Of greater impact and more questionable are the inherent advantages the Bainimarama Government enjoys by being able to distribute taxpayers’ funds as a “government”, right up to election day, possibly influencing voters towards some government ministers or civil servants who are going to be candidates in the September election.
* These are the views of Professor Wadan Narsey and not of The Fiji Times.