Fiji Time: 8:42 PM on Monday 5 October

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Party concern at lack of capacity

Shayal Devi
Tuesday, June 03, 2014

FIJI has not yet developed the capacity to hold elections in one day.

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry made the comment on Saturday during a meeting in Lautoka.

Chaudhry said this was one of the developments about the election that was worrying for the party.

"Throughout Fiji's history, we have had elections spread over a period of one week which allows the smooth holding of elections," he said.

"If elections will be held in one day, there will be almost 1700 polling stations. For every party to have one of its members to be present at every polling station will mean each party has to have 1700 members. Where are we going to get so many people from?

"Also, hundreds of voters will miss out if it's just a one day election and it will be chaos."

He said another concern raised by political parties was the issue of placing party sheds 300 metres away from a particular polling station.

"Before, the distance used to be 50m. This will also create a problem for the elderly who will have to walk 300m to the polling venue from their party's shed."

He said the party was still pushing for a change in the ballot paper for the benefit of all citizens.

"For the first time since symbols were introduced, this is the first election where there won't be any party symbols on ballot papers.

"We are still having our arguments with the Electoral Commission as this will pose difficulties for a good number of voters in identifying the party or candidates that they wish to vote for.

"We believe this is one of the things that is being engineered to confuse and frustrate the voter.

"The ballot papers should be simple and people should understand how to vote. It should be easy for them to identify the ballot paper and the person that they wish to vote for."

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