Fiji Time: 1:40 PM on Friday 20 January

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Poll talk with NGOs

Nasik Swami
Thursday, March 20, 2014

HEADS of NGOs yesterday met members of the Electoral Commission.

The meeting allowed the NGOs to make submissions to the commission on issues they considered pressing in the lead-up to the general election.

Fiji Women's Rights Movement program director Tara Chetty said the meeting was a great opportunity to meet the commission and get updates on the progress towards elections.

Ms Chetty said the NGOs were able to inform the commission on what they would like to do in particular for women.

"Fiji has not had a very good record of women representation in politics and we are really looking to empower women to participate as voters and candidates," she said, adding the work of the commission looked promising.

"They are really looking to work together with civil society organisations."

Transparency International executive director Apisalome Tudreu said he went to the meeting to hear of the commission's plans leading up to polling.

"We all have our own different sectors in the way the elections will turn out for Fiji. We have come to listen to the commission on how it plans to lead this process," Mr Tudreu said.

"We have learnt that the Electoral Regulations will be introduced later this week.

"We are waiting for that so we can see what contributions we can make.

"It feels good to come and discuss moving forward. TI Fiji, we are interested in transparency and accountability and we hope we can prepare our people on the kind of representatives they have and one who can lead the nation in a transparent way."

In another development, Fiji Women's Crisis Centre executive director Shamima Ali voiced her concern about the commission failing to invite the centre to make its submissions.

"We were not invited," Ms Ali said.

NGOs in attendance yesterday:

* Transparency International (TI)

* Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF)

* Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FRWM)

* Pacific Center for Peacebuilding (PCP)

* National Council of Women Fiji (NCWF)

* Soqosoqo Vakamarama

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