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Fiji Time: 11:18 AM on Saturday 19 April

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Law comes into effect

Nasik Swami
Saturday, January 19, 2013

THE new Political Parties Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosure Decree 2013 came into effect yesterday.

And from today, existing political parties in Fiji have only 27 days to re-register ahead of the 2014 general elections.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said all political parties must register and failure to do so was an offence under the new decree.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said those registering must meet the various terms and conditions set out in the decree.

Under the new decree no person may be an office holder who is an undischarged bankrupt or has been convicted of an offence carrying a jail sentence of six months or more in the past five years.

An application to register must be signed by five party members and the party name must be in the English language. A party symbol is also required.

The decree also requires that a party must have 5000 members from all four divisions of Fiji — 2000 from the Central Division, 1750 members from the Western Division, 1,000 members from the Northern Division and 250 members from the Eastern Division. All applications from political parties to the registrar — in this case the permanent secretary for elections must be accompanied by a fee of $5,005 — one dollar for each member and the five original applicants.

The terms and conditions in the decree states that no public officer can be a party member or hold office. This includes public servants, member of statutory authorities, judges and other judicial officers, members of the Fiji Police Force and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

And no elected or appointed official of a trade union can be a party member or hold office and any public officer who wants to be a member or office bearer of a political party must resign before doing so. All political parties registered must provide details of all assets and expenditure, including donations.

The decree also states that political parties can only be funded by membership fees and contributions from individuals and all sources of funding must be disclosed.