Changes in Electoral Amendment Bill could see calculation of 5% threshold for seat allocation in parliament against total number of votes cast including invalid votes

Changes in Electoral Amendment Bill could see calculation of 5% threshold for seat allocation in parliament against total number of votes cast including invalid votes

By Rashika Kumar
Monday 01/03/2021
[Photo: Parliamentof Fiji]

The Fijian Elections Office has approved an amendment to the Electoral Amendment Bill 2020 which states that the 5% threshold for the allocation of seats in parliament should be calculated against the total number of votes cast which should include invalid votes.

While making the submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights, the Office says the amendment is to ensure that the allocation of seats provision is consistent to that described in section 53(3) of the Fijian Constitution.

The amendments to the Electoral Amendment Bill could also see the Supervisor of Elections not only administer registration but also regulate the conduct, funding and disclosures of political parties.

The Office says amendments also allows the Supervisor to remove or direct any political party, candidate or police officer to remove any material that is in breach of the campaign rule and this amendment also gives effect to the protection of the voters from campaign during the blackout period.

They also approve the prohibition of the usage of state resources during the campaign period.

They say the amendment also allows the National Candidates List to contain either the party name or party symbol or any other information as approved by the Supervisor.

The Office says the amendments also requires that the time and date of the close of the National Register of Voters is specified in the Writ of Elections and it is necessary to state a specific time so that all stakeholders are aware.

The Office says the exact cut-off time is also useful in the preparation of the Final Voter List.

The FEO has also highlighted that an amendment also allows the Supervisor to publish the Provisional Voter List for each polling station on or before 30th September of each year except in an election year.

They say this process would allow for stakeholders including political parties to carry out verification exercises and report inaccuracies in the voter list to the Fijian Elections Office for rectification.

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