It is timely that Fiji’s electoral laws are comprehensively reviewed – Commission and FEO

It is timely that Fiji’s electoral laws are comprehensively reviewed – Commission and FEO

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 29/11/2023
Photo: File

The Electoral Commission and the Acting Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa say it is timely that Fiji’s electoral laws, promulgated for the 2014 general elections, are comprehensively reviewed, and the commission and the FEO look forward to being actively engaged in the review process as a whole.

In their joint report for the 2022 general elections, the commission and the Acting Supervisor say they understand that there was some voter confusion in relation to the drive to update voter cards, and they will work to minimise any potential for such confusion in the future elections.

The Multinational Observer Group has said that there needs to be clarity on the validity of voter cards and other allowable documents early ahead of the next election to maximise voter turn-out.

The commission and the Acting SOE also agree with the Observer Group that ensuring the accuracy of the National Voter Register is important to maintaining public confidence in it. They say they continue to pursue options for conducting an external audit of the Register.

They also agree with the MOG recommendation that a review of the elections related restrictions be included in the review of the electoral legislation announced by Cabinet and scheduled to commence this year.

The MOG has recommended the review of restrictions on election-related activities for domestic and traditional Civil Society Organisations, particularly in relation to candidate- development activities, which will result in wider participation in the electoral system by all sectors of society, including women.

The commission and the Acting SOE recommend that a review of the criminal penalties be included in the review of the electoral legislation.

They also agree with the MOG’s recommendation that the length and complexity of the electoral legislation be considered as part of the review.

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