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'Electoral legislation crucial'

Avinesh Gopal
Thursday, January 09, 2014

THE Social Democratic Liberal Party says it is critical for the legitimacy of the general election that the electoral legislation is made known at the earliest possible time.

SODELPA general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu said like other political parties, they were also eagerly awaiting the announcement of the legislation.

Mr Tabaiwalu said the rules and regulations governing elections were important, even in the selection of candidates.

He said applications from interested candidates were with the party's selection committee, adding all applications were confidential.

"We are waiting for the rules and regulations and it's even important in selecting our candidates," he said. "There's no use for us to hasten the process when things are not out yet, including the appointment of the Supervisor of Elections and the Electoral Commission. All the political parties are waiting for these, and also whether there will be more changes to the 2013 Constitution."

Mr Tabaiwalu said some people interested in contesting the election were hesitant to apply in the absence of the legislation.

"There should be a timetable for things to be put in place so that the parties can plan things in the countdown to the election as not much time is left.

"We really need to know the rules of the game so that we can start our campaign and voter education program the way we want to conduct it.

"It's expensive to campaign for the election, so we want to know the rules and regulations governing the election first.

"And it's critical for the legitimacy of the election that the rules and regulations pertaining to it are made known to political parties soon."

Elections Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said while releasing the National Register of Voters last month that the legislation was being finalised.

He had said workshops would also be held for political parties on the election process. The government has assured Fijians the election will be conducted in a transparent, free and fair manner.

So far, there are four registered political parties — SODELPA, Fiji Labour Party, National Federation Party and the People's Democratic Party.

The Prime Minister has stated he will form his political party in the coming months and contest the elections.

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