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Chaudhary: 1-day election impossible

Nasik Swami
Monday, February 24, 2014

THE confidence of Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that one-day election in Fiji is achievable is misplaced, says Labour leader Mahendra Chaudhary.

"One day polling requires massive organisational capacity and resources which the Elections Office will be unable to build in the short time before the polls," Mr Chaudhry said.

"We are now effectively less than six months from the promised elections. It should be noted that the Elections Office was mothballed for eight years.

"It will have to start from scratch to have all preparations in place for the one-day polls in September."

Mr Chaudhry said the Elections Office was still in the process of recruiting key staff to assist in the planning, organisation and management of the elections.

"After recruitment, they will have to undergo intensive and specialised training.

"We don't have a Supervisor of Elections as yet who should take responsibility for the oversight of the election and the Elections Office.

"There is still no electoral legislation setting out the rules and guidelines for the elections. Political parties and the rest of the nation remain in the dark about how the polls will be conducted and the requirements governing it."

Mr Chaudhry said polling stations had not been finalised and he believes thousands of voters would not be able to get to polling stations on one-day polling.

Ms Bishop told the Pacific Island Forum's Ministerial Contact Group last week that while a single day election would be a monumental undertaking, Fiji was well capable of doing this.

She said that there were many things to consider when conducting an election in one day.

"We understand that the government wishes to hold an election on a single day and that hasn't occurred before."

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