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Hope for fairness

Siteri Sauvakacolo And Shalveen Chand
Friday, August 22, 2014

SIX objections have been filed against the FijiFirst party by the People's Democratic Party at the Electoral Commission.

PDP president Lynda Tabuya, at a press conference on Wednesday, said the six objections were against Laisenia Tuitubou, Joeli Cawaki, Brij Lal, Praveen Kumar also known as Praveen Bala, Inia Seruiratu and Pio Tikoduadua.

She said the PDP had objected because it believed that the six people continued to be civil servants and public office holders when they signed their nomination papers.

"We are objecting to this. The time they signed their nominations, they were still public officers," Ms Tabuya said.

"Objections are currently being reviewed by the Electoral Commissioner and we are yet to hear from them about these objections. The period given is three days but we may hear back from them sooner; so we are just waiting to hear from them.

"However, we do hope that in fairness, proper decisions are made."

Ms Tabuya said though the six have resigned, they hoped the commission would still conduct its own investigation.

"These public officers, at the time they resigned, would have some leave owing to them and if they do so, then they are deemed employees until the last day of their leave."

She said they are awaiting the outcome of the objections from the commission.

Meanwhile, A-G Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former justice permanent secretary Mereseini Vuniwaqa's nomination as candidates have been objected to by the National Federation Party.

NFP general secretary Kamal Iyer said Mrs Vuniwaqa was the acting PS for Justice from January 2012 until her resignation in March 2013.

"In that capacity, Mrs Vuniwaqa was responsible for elections and performed the functions of the Supervisor of Elections," Mr Iyer said.

"Mrs Vuniwaqa is therefore barred from standing for elections for a period of four years from her last date of employment under Section 57(2) of the 2013 Constitution that is after March 2017."

He said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum's nomination also breached Section 57(2) of the 2013 Constitution and Section 23 (4) (e) of the Electoral Decree 2014, as he was exercising the role of the Electoral Commission until it was taken over by the permanent secretary responsible for Elections in September 2013 following the promulgation of the Constitution under Section 170 (5).

Mr Iyer said in the circumstances, NFP believed Mrs Vuniwaqa and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum were ineligible to be nominated as candidates in the September 17 election.

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