‘Higher level of trust in Samoa and Tonga’s electoral process’

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem leads the Chief Electoral Officer for the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission, Mose Saitala and FEO Media officer Arin Kumar after the press conference in Suva. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

VOTERS in Tonga and Samoa have a higher level of trust in the electoral process than Fijians.

This was admitted by Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem while speaking to regional journalists at a US Embassy funded political reporting workshop in Suva.

“For those who come from Tonga and Samoa, some of them would be thinking ‘why some of the things I’m saying is important?,” he said.

“In Tonga and Samoa, the election process has a higher level of trust,” he said.

“For those people who come to vote, their level of trust in the electoral system is far greater than what we are enjoying in Fiji at the moment.

“I was there in Tonga (during their election) as an observer under the Commonwealth framework, we noted this which was very healthy for the country.”

He said there was a level of maturity needed in election and its processes.

“Post-election, there were (celebratory) floats going around in Tonga and there was also the fact that the candidates who did not make it congratulated the candidates who made it.

“I think Fiji has a way to go from here.

“We are at a stage if a candidate doesn’t make it, they go to the referee.”

He explained Fiji could learn from the two countries.

“They have that maturity in their country. Even though they’ve had some tumultuous events in the past, they have people who know that election is the way to go.”