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'Poll budget costly'

Avinesh Gopal
Saturday, January 18, 2014

THE National Federation Party believes the election budget is high because of the government's plan to have one-day voting.

NFP president Raman Singh said a financial study would have to be done to determine where and how the budgetary allocation for the elections would be spent.

"But the figure is high because of the one-day elections, which is a difficult and momentous task," he said.

"The elections are normally held over seven days and if the 2014 Election were shortened to even three days, then it would have been OK.

"The geographical location of villages and outer islands will make it difficult for the political parties and candidates to move around in one day."

Mr Singh said as far as the NFP was concerned, the one-day election looked like a momentous task.

He said it would be a huge task for the NFP and other parties to get their scrutineers, workers and voters to the polling stations.

"The political parties will be stretched and candidates won't be able to go to all the polling stations in the country.

"They may be able to visit at least 10 polling stations in that one day.

"The one-day election also means extra expenses for the political parties and the candidates, as we also have to get our logistics done."

Mr Singh said the elections should be held on a holiday to ensure that if not all, then the majority of voters are able to make it to polling stations.

He said political parties had a huge task to make logistical arrangements for the one-day polls scheduled before the end of September.

Also, he said since the Electoral Commission has been appointed, "we expect them to move things in an orderly and timely manner".

"We expect the appointment of the Supervisor of Elections soon as time is running out for the elections. The electoral legislation should also be revealed at the earliest possible," said Mr Singh.

On Thursday, the Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said a budget of $44million was being looked at for the elections. He added that most of funds would be given by donors.

Electoral Commission chairman Chen Bunn Young said the commission had an active role in the appointment of the Supervisor of Elections.

"We are not here to rubber stamp something. We will vet it," said Mr Young.

"We expect the government to consult us and we have no doubt that they will."

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