Fiji Time: 1:35 PM on Friday 9 October

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NFP raises concerns

Avinesh Gopal
Friday, May 02, 2014

THE National Federation Party says the ballot paper for the general election renders meaningless any semblance of the election being free, fair and credible.

And it thinks the ballot paper can win an international award for being "user-unfriendly".

While urging the government and the Electoral Commission to re-think the ballot paper, the party yesterday did not rule out the possibility of challenging the design of the ballot paper in court.

NFP leader Biman Prasad, party president Tupou Draunidalo and party stalwart Faizal Koya yesterday expressed concern on the ballot paper and showed a sample of it to the media.

The party has written to the Electoral Commission regarding the ballot paper, strongly opposing its design, nature and content of the actual ballot paper for the September election.

"The ballot paper contains a total of 280 numbers, from 135 to 414. Each number will be allocated to a candidate, either nominated by a political party or an independent following a draw after nomination of candidates," the party wrote.

"Voters are required to either circle, tick or cross one number on the ballot paper to indicate their vote for a particular candidate."

Mr Prasad said at a press conference yesterday that candidates for the election would get their numbers on August 24, thus giving them about three weeks to tell voters about their numbers.

"The issuance of numbers to candidates renders the party symbol useless and we believe this is unnecessarily going to confuse voters. Political parties will have two to three weeks to work out a strategy and educate voters," he said.

He said voters were getting more worried about how they were going to vote.

"One option for us is to challenge this in court, if you look at the provisions of the Constitution.

"Our legal colleagues have advised me that the ballot paper itself could be a breach of the Constitution," he said.

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