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Query over poll results

Felix Chaudhary
Monday, February 26, 2018

THREE political parties that are preparing to contest the 2018 General Election have questioned the results of the Tebbutt-Times poll conducted earlier this month.

The National Federation Party, Unity Fiji Party and the Fiji Labour Party claim the surveys they have conducted at meetings around the country have shown a swing away from the ruling FijiFirst party under the leadership of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

"The poll results appear significantly different from on the ground surveys conducted by FLP, all of which strongly suggest that the people want FijiFirst and Bainimarama out," claimed former prime minister and FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry.

"In any event, we believe there is much apprehension in their camp about a possible defeat and the consequences that may follow.

"Only time will tell."

Former Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor and Unity Fiji Party leader Savenaca Narube also said discussions his team has had revealed different results to the poll.

"We have visited Nadroga, Nadi, Lautoka, Ba and Tavua in the last two weeks," he said.

"The reactions that we have received from our consultations are very different from the results of the Tebbutt poll.

"Leadership, which is the topic of this recent poll, will be the key to the 2018 election.

"I expect the results of these polls to change significantly in the coming months."

"Infrastructure is not all that this country needs. We need to build a united country with a clear vision to where we are taking our people.

"After three years, people are more discerning of what they have not seen rather than what they have seen.

"They know that nation-building is crucial to our future stability and prosperity."

The National Federation Party said while the poll - which was conducted on a random sample of 1000 eligible voters - appeared to weigh in favour of FijiFirst party leader Voreqe Bainimarama, there were serious issues that ordinary people faced that could swing voters away from the present administration.

Prof Prasad said he was confident there was more support for the NFP than the polls showed.

"We will continue to articulate the views, concerns and grievances of all people of Fiji," he said.

"In particular, rising youth unemployment and lack of decent and meaningful job opportunities for them, increasing cost of living, deteriorating public health system and infrastructure, the struggling sugar industry, rising debt, discriminatory contractual employment for our workers particularly civil servants and enforced retirement age, and lack of good governance, transparency and accountability.

"We also think our provisional candidate Lenora Qereqeretabua's poll numbers are revealing.

"What they show is that people want to see new leaders with new ideas. This is what we are aiming to offer to the people in the coming elections."

According to the poll which was conducted this month, Mr Bainimarama is still the preferred PM with an impressive 64 per cent, followed by Social Democratic Liberal Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka on 23 per cent, and Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa at 6 per cent.

NFP provisional candidate Ms Qereqeretabua was a surprise inclusion in the leader popularity vote result capturing 3 per cent, less than a month after her NFP candidacy was announced.

NFP leader Prof Biman Prasad polled 2 per cent and Unity Fiji Party leader Savenaca Narube got 1 per cent.

Questions sent to former prime minister and Social Democratic Liberal Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka and the FijiFirst party last week on Friday on the poll results remain unanswered.

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