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Siteri Sauvakacolo
Saturday, August 30, 2014

THE Civil Society-Domestic Elections Observation Group (CSO-DEOG) has been formally dissolved following the Elections Minister's refusal for them to be observers in next month's general election.

In a statement yesterday, the group expressed its disappointment with the Minister for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum's refusal to allow 300 observers from the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western divisions of Fiji to participate as domestic observers.

"The coalition first sought the invitation to observe from the Minister for Elections in a letter dated 18th June 2014," the statement said.

"Despite numerous attempts to seek a meeting to discuss the above, CSO-DEOG received a verbal refusal on the 23rd of August 2014."

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the presence of the Multinational Observer Group and party scrutineers would suffice for now.

The statement added that the training and participation of civil society observers added credibility to any election process, particularly in a highly contested election, such as the 2014 election in Fiji that are the first steps towards a return to democracy.

"Local community observers are often able to understand the nuances that international observers cannot, and their absence will leave a hole in the process.

"The CSO-DEOG is now formally dissolved. We wish all Fijian voters the best in the coming elections."

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