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Fiji Time: 5:35 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Elections office to be an independent body

Shalveen Chand
Friday, January 10, 2014

THE Elections Office has been tasked with fostering democracy and ensuring it is present in all organisations, and for that reason the Elections Office will be an independent body.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said for the office to be truly transparent, it had to be independent.

He said trade unions, sporting bodies and even parent and teacher associations had complained about the way elections in their organisations had been conducted.

He said this was how the Elections Office could help such bodies. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum made the announcement while accepting four new vehicles for the use of the office.

He said the office would soon have a new structure in place and this would involve the government advertising 32 posts for the office this weekend.

Further to this, there would be 14,000 people employed just for polling day.

He said the government was looking at a cost of up to $45million, and hoping aid donors would come forward.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said different governments had helped or have pledged to help in different ways, and overseas experts have come in because Fiji doesn't have people with their skills.

He said this had been possible with the help of donor nations and Fiji hasn't forked out any money for them.

According to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, in the coming years, the experts hoped to pass their skills to the locals.

He said the EU's report of the 2006 elections painted a very bad picture of how polling went. He said there were discrepancies and nepotism.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said people were chosen because they knew people, and after the elections a lot of equipment including computers and furniture were never to be seen.

He said the elections office would work on capacity-building and making career paths for people.