Fiji Time: 1:06 PM on Monday 24 November

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Decision upheld

Shalveen Chand
Monday, August 25, 2014

ELECTIONS Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the matter between the Electoral Commission and the Supervisor of Elections could have been settled before going to the court.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the law was quite specific, that the Electoral Commission must give a decision within three days and the court has upheld that.

"The court has ruled and said the electoral process is time bound. You have to have the nominations by a particular date, the objections by a particular date and therefore the ruling in respect to the Electoral Commission has to be within three days itself," he said.

"The court has therefore held that the clock started ticking as far as the Electoral Commission is concerned on Tuesday afternoon at 4'o clock and the three days ended at Friday afternoon at 4'o clock.

"And the court has upheld that the directives by the commission has to be within the law. It is very critical, otherwise if you have directive powers you can tell anybody to do anything, what if it's outside the bounds of law."

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the commission should have asked advice from the Solicitor General.

"The court has also upheld that the commission consists of people who are well qualified to make this type of ruling. It is really a pity that the Electoral Commission didn't see it fit to get an opinion from the Solicitor General. They went overseas to two legal counsels to get an opinion."

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said yesterday was the last day when the National Candidates List should have gone to the printers as today would see other deadlines being met.

He said the court decision also meant that hard work by the Elections Office and its local and expatriate staff did not go to waste as all processes until the election would happen within time.





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