Chaotic Voting in Lau
By Samisoni Pareti
Daliconi Village on the north-west coast of Vanuabalavu.— Samisoni Pareti.
Reports from Fiji’s eastern-most province of Lau speak of a chaotic polling schedule where polling officials have arrived un-scheduled to villages.
Daliconi Village on the island of Vanuabalavu was according to voting schedules released by the Fijian Elections Office suppose to vote tomorrow, Thursday 11th September.
But voting officials turned up today, only to find a village half empty of men and women who have gone to attend to their food gardens or out at sea to fish.
On the neighbouring island of Cicia, voting there was scheduled to take place on Monday this week.
However poll officials say their boat was unable to reach Cicia until yesterday afternoon, and voting for the island had to be done yesterday evening before the boat could sail to Vanuabalavu.
Vanuabalavu was to be the final island to vote in the Lau Province under the Elections Office “pre-voting” schedules.
Reports from the island say the changes in the voting schedule has also disrupted the Multinational Observer Group’s travel plans.
MOG reportedly had to charter 2 aircraft to Vanuabalavu yesterday and today again due to the voting schedule disruptions.
Meanwhile voters in the urban centres of the country will go to the polls on Wednesday next week. The day has already been declared a public holiday by the government.
A total of 248 candidates from seven political parties and two independent candidates are contesting for the new look 50-seat parliament.