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A-G refuses tit for tat argument

Tevita Vuibau
Sunday, May 11, 2014

ATTORNEY-GENERAL and Minister Responsible for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the law is clear about stopping any interference with elections by any person, just a day after he was accused of having a conflict of interest by Laisenia Qarase.

And Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also maintains that the same powers he has as Minister for Elections were bestowed on former prime minister Laisenia Qarase by then President Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

Mr Qarase had earlier said there had never been a Minister for Elections since Fiji's independence and that Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had a conflict of interest by being the minister responsible.

However, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum maintained that he did not want to get into a "he said, he said argument" with Mr Qarase because the law was clear cut.

"I've already made a comment for this and I am not going to go tit for tat, it's the same thing.

"Ministerial assignments, commissioners, it was given to Laisenia Qarase and the same thing was given to me.

"Just because we highlight the Minister Responsible for Elections does not in any way change the fact that he was responsible for elections, and so am I.

He said the law remained clear on the duties and status of the Electoral Commission and the Supervisor of Elections.

"The law is quite clear, the elections commission is independent, the Supervisor of Elections is independent, and you have the Electoral Decree, it is very clear and very simple.

"Like I said, the comments made by these people are not worth responding to. Two comments have been made by former PMs that cannot stand for elections and the law is quite clear."

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the international community was a lot more honest and it was for the first time in Fiji's history that there was a good calibre of consultants at the Elections Office.

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