ANY lay member of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma who wishes to contest the September election will have to relinquish any leadership role they hold in their respective congregations.
This was made clear by communications secretary of the church Reverend James Bhagwan, who said this meant fairness applied across the board to lay members as well as for ordained ministers.
"This is because the same rule which require an ordained minister or deaconess or catechist to step down from their appointment should they choose to stand for elections also applies to lay members who are appointed to leadership positions by the circuit quarterly meetings, divisional annual meeting and national annual conference," Mr Bhagwan said.
"It is important for maintaining balance that no candidate for the general election holds any position of leadership or authority in either the circuit, the division or the conference and standing committee," added church general secretary, Rev Tevita Nawadra.
Mr Nawadra explained that it was not an effort to discourage members from campaigning, it was so they were not tempted to abuse power and influence they may have in the church to further their political aspirations.