Fiji Time: 10:03 PM on Friday 27 November

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Calls for resignation

Nasik Swami
Saturday, May 10, 2014

FOLLOWING a board meeting on Thursday, the Fiji Labour Party has decided to write to President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau to register its protest against A-G and Elections Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Party president Lavinia Padarath said the board wanted Mr Sayed-Khaiyum to resign from his position as the Minister responsible for Elections now that he had been appointed secretary-general of the proposed Fiji First Party.

"This is a blatant case of abuse of office and authority," Ms Padarath said.

"In the interests of transparency and to maintain the integrity and credibility of the upcoming elections, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum cannot continue to hold both positions.

"There is clearly a conflict of interest here.

"FLP believes the entire electoral process will be tainted, should Mr Sayed-Khaiyum continue to retain ministerial oversight."

Ms Padarath said the Elections Office and Electoral Commission should be absolutely independent of any ministerial control.

The NFP general secretary, Kamal Iyer, said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had compromised his position as Elections Minister by joining the proposed organisation.

Mr Iyer called for Mr Sayed-Khaiyum to resign immediately.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had told this newspaper that previously, ministers had been responsible for the Election Office.

"Who was responsible for the 2006 elections? Laisenia Qarase, he was the leader of the SDL party," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

"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?

"Who was minister responsible for elections in 1999? Sitiveni Rabuka. He was the leader of the SVT. Did NFP and Labour say it was a conflict of interest? No. So why are they saying it now."

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