EXISTING political parties have until this Thursday to re-register under the new Registration of Political Parties Decree.
Acting Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister for Electoral Reform Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum revealed yesterday that there would be no extension to the 28-day deadline for the re-registration of existing political parties which ends on February 14.
The AG also said that the 5000 signatures collected by political parties as required under the Political Parties Registration Decree would be scrutinised by the registrar of elections. "There will be no extension to the deadline," he said.
When queried whether political parties were being monitored during the signature gathering exercise, the AG said parties were not being observed but signatures gathered would be scrutinised.
"There is no monitoring when political parties go out and get signatures but definitely the registrar, under the decree, will look at the signatures that have been obtained. They obviously need to be bonafide persons, they need to exist, they need to have voter ID card numbers there and the other thing is a person who was an original signatory to the registration of a political party cannot simultaneously sign as an original member for another political party," he said.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said new political parties were not bound by the 28-day time-frame and said concerns that new parties would find difficulty in obtaining the required number of signatures were unfounded.
"New parties do not have the 28-day time-frame. They can apply at any time they like. Secondly, 5000 signatures is only 0.8 per cent of the voter population. So even if 10 political parties went and got 5000 signatures each, it's only 8 per cent. In terms of the proportion of the signatures required to the potential of registered number of voters, it's still very small."
Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said the FLP was working towards obtaining the signatures required while senior executive member of the proposed Social Democratic Liberal (SDL) Party Doctor Tupeni Baba has revealed that they were making good progress with meeting the requirements of the decree.
National Federation Party president Raman Pratap Singh said the political organisation had obtained the 5000 signatures as required and would be making their formal re-registration application on Wednesday.