28 September, 2023, 8:51 pm Central - 22°C Rain

People's Alliance, FLP, Unity Fiji and NFP question SOE why the total voter turnout is still not revealed
Questions raised on the treatment of their party count agents

People's Alliance, FLP, Unity Fiji and NFP question SOE why the total voter turnout is still not revealed

Questions raised on the treatment of their party count agents

By Alipate Narawa
Saturday 17/12/2022
Leaders of the four political parties. From left to right: Savenaca Narube, Sitiveni Rabuka, Biman Prasad and Mahendra Chaudhry

The leaders of the People's Alliance, Unity Fiji, Fiji Labour Party and the National Federation Party are questioning why Fijian Elections Office has not released the official count numbers of total votes cast in the 2022 general elections.

In their joint statement read out by NFP Leader, Professor Biman Prasad, the party leaders demand that the total voter turnout be revealed to the people as nothing has been released since the close of the polls on Wednesday.

They insist that the full and complete final results pending the recounts, in an Excel sheet, not as being issued sporadically in batches at the Results Centre so that party’s can verify the accuracy of the results because of their continued distrust of the Result Management System and the glitched FEO app.

The party leaders have also expressed their shock and disgust at the sudden interruption of the count without reason and the inhumane eviction of their count agents from the Count Centre just before midnight last night.

They raise questions regarding the sudden questioning by police of Sitiveni Rabuka, the People's Alliance Party Leader, and his Party General Secretary, Sakiasi Ditoka and the Head of the Methodist Church, Reverend Ili Vunisuwai, late last night.

The leaders say in their statement that the sudden, rude and inhumane eviction of their count agents at that midnight hour on some pretence that the "tents had expired", were highly irregular and suspicious acts, all being carried out when the final election count outcomes should be nearing conclusion.

They say their agents were reluctant to move out as they had observed a group of approximately 10 FijiFirst Party agents still gathered in the main Fijian Elections Office tent sitting on the floor, lending more suspicion to these midnight shenanigans.

The leaders say what worsened the situation in their view was the sheer lack of humanitarian empathy for their count agents, many of them young volunteers, who had to move their mats, lights, sustenance supplies and personal effects from the Count Centre premises when public transportation in that area was unavailable.

They say around 4am today, the scaffolding company workers arrived to remove the tent that housed all political party agents, as provided by the Fijian Elections Office.

Their agents were told that the company owner needed the tent for a wedding in Sigatoka.

The party leaders say that only 2 agents are permitted into the count centre now, and boxes to be recounted are those for high invalidity rate.

Meanwhile the leaders have also refused to accept the findings of the Multinational Observer Group after it said it did not find any significant irregularities during voting in the 2022 elections.

Rabuka claims these observers are not free due to restrictive conditions.

Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem is having a press conference this hour.

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