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NFP urges young to exercise rights in ballot box

Avinesh Gopal
Thursday, June 05, 2014

THE National Federation Party has urged youths to use the power of the ballot box to exercise their right, responsibility and obligation in society by voting.

While making the request, the party also called for the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of all students to ensure they can freely participate in the general election.

NFP leader Biman Prasad said the government had repeatedly assured Fijians they could be involved in a "free and fair" political process.

"But a tertiary student has peremptorily lost his scholarship for a single day's volunteer work to help a candidate collect signatures for registration," he said.

"The student from a poor, single parent family has been told to repay all the scholarship money so far spent on his education.

"This action not only has no legal basis but is vindictive and punitive and clearly designed to intimidate other young people eager to use their political rights for the first time."

Mr Prasad said the student, like any other Fiji citizen, had the constitutional right to participate in political activities.

He added that the student was basically exercising his right under Section 23 by supporting the cause of an independent candidate.

"We demand that all young people, especially those between 18 and 25 years and have the opportunity to vote for the first time, be permitted full involvement in these elections as the government claims."

He added that young people should step up, show leadership, and take responsibility in inclusive, democratic governance through the ballot box.

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