Fiji Time: 7:25 PM on Sunday 31 July

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / News

Qarase's bit

Nasik Swami
Saturday, May 10, 2014

FORMER prime minister and leader of the SDL party Laisenia Qarase has joined the chorus of voices calling on the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to step down as Elections Minister following the announcement of his role as the proposed general secretary of the proposed Fiji First Party.

Mr Qarase also downplayed suggestions by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum that he was a minister responsible for elections during his tenure. Mr Qarase was responding to a statement by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum earlier this week that Mr Qarase was "the minister responsible for elections for the 2001 elections".

"Ministers have been responsible for the Elections Office. Did the NFP say it was a conflict of interest? Did the Labour Party then say it was a conflict of interest? Who was the minister responsible for elections for the 2001 elections? Laisenia Qarase! Did the NFP or Labour say it was a conflict of interest?" Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Mr Qarase expressed disappointment, claiming that since independence in 1970, there had never been a Minister for Elections. "The reason for this is that both the Electoral Commission and the Office of the Supervisor of Elections must carry out their functions within the laws regulating their operations, with complete independence and without interference from the government in power," he said.

"The issue is that of a serious conflict of interest. The people of Fiji have a right to insist that this is not acceptable in a free and fair election.

"Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said his position is no different from what has been the practice in the past. When I was prime minister, for example, I was also leader of the SDL party. While this information is correct the truth is that I was never Minister for Elections."

"Mr Sayed-Khaiyum exercises the power of this portfolio as a member of a government with no legal or popular mandate, no accountability and no parliamentary oversight. This is the crux of his problem and public concerns about his role."

Another former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry last night echoed similar sentiments, that there had never been an Elections Minister before.








Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.64150.6225
JPY 51.982948.9829
GBP 0.36900.3610
EUR 0.44000.4280
NZD 0.69550.6625
AUD 0.65310.6281
USD 0.48960.4726

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 29th July 2016

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Early morning tragedy claims a life, another hospitalised
  2. Four jump from moving bus
  3. QVS teams dominate Deans Trophy semi-final clashes
  4. Couple retires after 70 years
  5. Early morning body discovery
  6. $700m bill
  7. Giteau, Fijian duo in Wallabies squad
  8. Long wait finally over
  9. Akbar: Cards on hold
  10. Westerners dominate

Top Stories this Week

  1. Tourist fined $400 for apples Tuesday (26 Jul)
  2. Fitter and faster Tuesday (26 Jul)
  3. Student jumps from school building Tuesday (26 Jul)
  4. Mum rises above limits Wednesday (27 Jul)
  5. Black money Monday (25 Jul)
  6. Alleged rape victim out of hospital Monday (25 Jul)
  7. Reaction from 7s players Monday (25 Jul)
  8. Alarm over 'illegal' property purchases Tuesday (26 Jul)
  9. Chilling out in Chile Thursday (28 Jul)
  10. Early morning tragedy claims a life, another hospitalised Sunday (31 Jul)