Huge delay in review of electoral laws – SOE

Huge delay in review of electoral laws – SOE

By Mansi Chand
Wednesday 12/06/2024
Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa

Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa says they have not received any update from the former Attorney General, Siromi Turaga and the Solicitor General’s Office on the update of the review of electoral laws.

The Supervisor of Elections highlighted this during fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan when asked about the proposed electoral law changes and the update.

The Supervisor of Elections says just like the glitch issue they have been following up on the electoral laws with the Solicitor General’s Office and the former Attorney General as they were informed about the Cabinet decision to review the electoral laws.

Mataiciwa says they have not received any feedback from them yet.

She says there are a lot of repercussions when amendments are rushed as stakeholders who need to adhere to these laws get confused and they have seen what happened in the previous General Elections and they do not want that to be a re-occurrence for the upcoming elections.

When questioned if changes will be proposed for the declaration of assets and liabilities of parties, officials and candidates to be published like the past which was changed through Standing Order 51 before the 2022 elections, she responded that there is a review coming up and it could be an opportunity for the stakeholders to make submissions.

After the law change before the general elections, the declarations are not published for the people to see, and they have to pay a fee to only view the documents, not get a copy or even a photo of the declaration.

When asked about SOE’s stand on the additional powers that included the searching of documents relating to electoral matters before the 2022 elections, she says some powers are relevant while some are not.

Mataiciwa agrees some powers are with FICAC to investigate matters and there is no need to duplicate the powers.

She also says Section 110 of the Political Parties Act had introduced that people who intended to publish opinion polls had to comply with certain guidelines issued by the Electoral Commission.

Mataiciwa says the Multinational Observer Group had also picked on this in their report and they had observed that Section 110 had raised concerns from civil society, organisations, media and universities as it restrained their participation in the election.

She adds that they will look at some of the provisions if it benefits the users and it allow them to reflect on the provisions that were removed or amended where they want stakeholders to be included in the process.

Mataiciwa hopes the process will start soon.

You can watch the full Straight Talk interview on our website, fijvillage.

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