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Saneem: Adhere to Act

Litia Cava
Thursday, November 02, 2017

POLITICAL parties and campaigners must adhere to the Electoral Act and the Code of Conduct for political parties when conducting political campaigns and activities around the country.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem says the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) will refer any reports of malpractice in campaigns to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) for investigations.

He said it was essential that information and language used in campaigns must uphold the dignity of individuals and campaigners must ensure that voters were not misled with incorrect information.

"Political campaign messages and promises are also becoming prominent in the media, both official media as well as social media," he said.

"It is expected that political parties, their nominees and workers will intensify their messaging in the coming months to garner support from the voters. Care must be taken particularly on social media to avoid vilification of religion or invasion of private space of individuals."

Mr Saneem said the FEO had opened new complaints platform for voters to report any suspicious behaviour resulting from campaigns directly through email: complaints@feo.org.fj or they could contact the office on 8912685. He said letters addressed to the Supervisor of Elections could be hand delivered to any FEO office or posted to P.O.Box 2528, Government Buildings, Suva.

"We urge every voter to be conscious of their individual right to choose their own candidate and this right should not be compromised by any other individual. We are available to receive reports and action through law enforcement necessary remedies in the event any voter may feel their rights are being compromised," he said.

Mr Saneem said political campaigns and activities were expected to intensify in the next six months as the Writ of Elections would be issued sometime after April 6 next year.

He also cited the prohibition on vote buying on Section 114 part 1 of the Electoral Act which states that it shall be unlawful for political parties, candidates and their representatives, either personally or through other persons, to give or offer to any citizen money, gifts, material goods of any value (except for campaign material) or services free of charge, to sell goods or services to persons at a preferential price, or to promise to provide any monetary fund, gift, material goods or services of any value for the purpose of gaining or influencing votes in an election.

He said the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Decree also outlined the sources of funds for a political party and parties must adhere to it.

"Voters must be allowed to exercise their rights to choose their preferred candidate and vote for them without any form of threat, intimidation or inducement."








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