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Fiji Time: 4:33 PM on Monday 21 April

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Forfeiture

Tevita Vuibau
Friday, February 15, 2013

EXISTING political parties that missed last night's registration deadline will today forfeit all their assets to the State and will be wound up.

This is in line with the Political Parties Registration, Conduct and Funding Decree 2013.

Registrar for Political Parties, Mere Vuniwaqa highlighted the provisions of the decree, which became effective today, saying it is important they be fully understood.

"It is clearly in the interests of the existing parties to register if they want to avoid this," Ms Vuniwaqa said.

"After midnight, no association of persons or organisation may operate, function, represent or hold itself out to be a political party until they are registered under the decree," she said.

"This applies to both existing parties that have made their applications or new parties that are still to be formed," she added.

When this edition went to press last night, the FLP and NFP were the only existing parties to have registered.

Yesterday, the Registrar's Office remained open until the midnight deadline to give existing parties every possible chance to register.

According to the decree, the application of an existing party is assessed and only if it is approved, does it become duly registered and can operate as a political entity.

For the new parties, they will be able to meet informally to organise and make their preparations but they must not operate, function, represent or hold themselves out to be a political party until they are approved and registered under the decree.

Ms Vuniwaqa said it was important that those in existing parties and those looking to form new ones understood their obligations under the decree.

"Any non-compliance carries the prospect of heavy fines or prison terms. We want all parties to operate in good faith and for this to be a transparent process. We look forward to hearing from existing parties by midnight tonight (last night) and new parties in the future," she said.