ENDORSED

THE Electoral Commission yesterday announced Fiji’s general election was conducted in a free and fair manner.

This comes as final results were still being released at the National Counting Centre last night.

The FijiFirst party leads by a big margin and the country will get to know the full results by tomorrow or Monday at the latest.

Commission chairman Chen Bunn Young made the statement following allegations by some political parties that the vote counting process was not fair and had irregularities.

Mr Young said from their observations of both pre-polling and polling day exercises, the process was indeed free and fair. But he also said the commission would investigate claims of “serious allegations,” raised by some political parties.

“The Electoral Commission has made their own observations from pre-polling to polling right throughout the divisions that’s in the Central, the Eastern, the Northern and the Western and we were satisfied with ourselves that the elections were carried out in a free and fair manner,” he said.

Mr Young said the process was also fair judging by the voter turnout.

“It’s good to know that this view has been endorsed independently by the Multinational Observer Group and more importantly I should say, by you, the voter, who has turned out in unprecedented numbers.”

Endorsing the announcement made by the chairman was the Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem, who thanked the commission for its support and being actively, engaged in the election process.

“The Electoral Commission itself has been very active, unlike previous years, you don’t know that the commission itself went out during pre-poll and during 17th of September itself, so it just adds to the checks and balance process that is there and so this is another achievement for the FEO as a whole,” Mr Saneem said.

Meanwhile, with a lot of hype concerning the final results, Mr Saneem said about 500 final results had entered in their database.

“The counting of the votes at the national tele-centre has been going on a continuous basis and what happened is that a good proportion of the results have been phoned in to the tele-centre, while some have been delivered.”

A portion of the final results from the Central and Eastern divisions were released yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Multinational Observer Group had said the outcome of the Fijian election was on track to broadly represent the will of the Fijian people.