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Democracy questioned

Felix Chaudhary
Monday, February 19, 2018

THE National Federation Party (NFP) says questions about impartiality of independent institutions established under the 2013 Constitution are justified and proves we are not a genuine democracy.

During a recent visit to the country, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, questioned whether independent institutions such as the Constitutional Offices Commission, Fijian Elections Office and the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission were truly autonomous based on a basic structural flaw.

In a statement, NFP party leader Professor Biman Prasad said the initial findings of the UNHCHR questioned the impartiality of independent institutions and the need to have a truly free and credible general election "vindicates the belief of opposition parties".

Prof Prasad claimed the flaw was simply and undeniably the politicisation of the independent institutions.

"The Constitutional Offices Commission has two government members who have close links to the FijiFirst party," the NFP leader claimed.

Prof Prasad also condemned the investigation of journalists from Islands Business saying it was a joke that they were alleged to have breached the Public Order Act for simply reporting something that may or may not be wrong.

He claimed three journalists from Islands Business were questioned for the second time by officers from CID last week.

"There are procedures to deal with such matters. And this is definitely not hauling them in or asking them to come to CID to be questioned.

"This was also raised by the UN Human Rights Commissioner."

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