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CCF: Vote without fear

Aqela Susu
Wednesday, November 08, 2017

AS the country prepares for next year's general election, the Citizens Constitutional Forum is advising all Fijians to vote for their candidate and political party of choice without any fear.

CCF chief executive officer Bulutani Mataitawakilai has also called for a free and fair election for voters, candidates, political parties and the media.

"CCF wishes to remind citizens that their participation in Fiji's political process is a human right, whereby citizens have the right to vote for the candidate and political party of their choice without fear or intimidation," Mr Mataitawakilai said in a statement in the lead up to the general election next year.

The forum is also gearing up for the much-anticipated polls with Mr Mataitawakilai confirming that their voter education awareness would start next month, targeting urban and peri-urban communities in the Central Division.

It will entail topics relating to the 2013 Constitution, principles of good governance, importance of exercising one's right to vote and basic information on the electoral system and processes, he said.

"In our meeting with the chairman of the Fijian Electoral Commission and Supervisor of Elections in September, the FEO made clarifications in regards to Section 115 of the Electoral Act," Mr Mataitawakilai said.

Section 115 of 2014 Act prohibits organisations that receive donor funding to organise meetings, carry out awareness or public discussion on election after the announcement of the general election.

According to Mr Mataitawakilai, in 2014 CCF was only allowed to conduct voter awareness three months prior to election date.

And during CCF's Constitutional Awareness Program earlier this year, he said they had received many electoral related queries from the public especially on "how to vote".

"Subsequently, the CCF had sought meetings with the FEO to clarify parameters for CSO's around voter education and these were successfully discussed in September," he said.

"The CCF is now in a better position compared to 2014 to carry out voter education confidently with support and collaboration from the FEO and other partners to assist voters prepare for the 2018 General Elections."

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