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Siteri Sauvakacolo
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

THE vanua o Lau has expressed disappointment over the exclusion of Anare Jale from contesting the September 17 election under the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) banner.

According to Mr Jale, his nomination was rejected under section 23 (4) (c) of the Electoral Decree which states a person shall only qualify to be ordinarily resident in Fiji for at least two years immediately before being nominated.

Mr Jale said he had sought legal advice on his eligibility and was of the belief he qualified "since I was always present and living in Fiji and made brief visits abroad".

"I was one of the short-term senior advisers to the Solomon Islands Government under the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands. In that role I had to visit Solomon Islands for short durations. At times my wife and I had to visit family members in New Zealand and also to visit my terminally ill brother in Australia.

"All those visits (absences from Fiji) went against me under the provisions of Decree No. 26," Mr Jale said.

At a press conference at the SODELPA office in Suva yesterday, Adi Ateca Ganilau said Mr Jale was a man they relied on to represent the Lau province in parliament.

"On behalf of the vanua, we are very disappointed because we were looking forward to having Anare Jale's services being a proven leader in government services, and in the past a tikina (district) rep," said Adi Ateca who is a member of the Vuanirewa clan.

"We can't understand why one amendment at the last minute, which is of no particular concern to anyone, and this has happened also with another member of the public Makereta Waqavonovono who was also given the same reason."

SODELPA leader Ro Teimumu Kepa said they were disappointed about the rejection.

Mr Jale confirmed yesterday that he had lodged an application to the Electoral Commission for a review of the decision on his nomination.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said the commission would make a decision on the review within three days of the receipt of application.

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