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Fiji Time: 8:01 PM on Friday 29 August

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Party's challenge

Nasik Swami
Tuesday, March 04, 2014

THE Electoral Commission should step up its game and become more prominent, says SODELPA general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu.

Mr Tabaiwalu said with the election drawing closer, commission chairman Chen Bunn Young should be the one directing the path to the poll.

"He should be the one making the comments, setting out the rules, encouraging voters and encouraging people to come out," Mr Tabaiwalu said.

"Once he appears more and more in the media, then people will feel there is objectivity to the process and its not tainted."

Mr Tabaiwalu said the commission's role was specified in the Constitution to independently run the election.

He claimed the political parties did not have a level playing field.

"It is important we get the electronic copy of the electoral roll.

"The chairman should make his judgement that political parties have an unfair advantage.

"Government has all the specifics of the electoral roll â€" age, sex, distribution in province and ethnicity, so their campaign would be much easier because they have this electronically."

Mr Tabaiwalu claimed political parties would not be able to campaign with what had been given to them.

"It's the register of voters with just the names, numbers and the addresses. Not even the date of birth. And it's in alphabetical order â€" why didn't they (government) put it in division wise so we can plan for our campaign?"

Mr Tabaiwalu also asked why the roll was so confidential.

"Why were the political parties not invited to make submissions for the rules and regulations â€" we are major stakeholders."

In his response, Mr Young said everybody was entitled to their opinion.

"Information cannot be forthcoming until we get the electoral decree in place."

He said with the electoral roll, he did not know what the political parties were entitled to.

"I will look up the decree and let them know," he said.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the hard copies had been made available to the parties and they could use the hard copy to put in whatever database they had to.


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