2018 General Elections: Political parties raise concerns

POLITICAL parties in the country have raised some concerns following the release of the provisional voters list and polling venues and the breakdown of voter distribution for the 2018 General Elections.

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad said the party’s focus was not only on the registration of the total number of voters and location of the polling venues, but on the integrity of the whole election process as well.

“This means right from the registration of voters to the tabulation and announcement of results,” he said.

“For an election to be genuine and credible, it is not enough that electoral administration be conducted in a relatively orderly and professional manner.”

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said information showing the age band, ethnicity and gender of voters for each polling station should also be provided by the Fijian Elections Office.

“The high number of pre-polling venues at 589 out of a total of 1435 with 73,669 voters is unacceptable and must be drastically reduced. It is a matter of concern to the opposition parties and is not required as most pre- poll locations are easily accessible and voters there can vote on the Election Day,” Mr Chaudhry said.

“The total number of polling stations should be reduced substantially by increasing the number of ballot papers allocated to each station from 500 to 1000. This will save both time and money for all stake holders.”

Fiji United Freedom Party leader Jagath Karunaratne said there was no doubt the FEO should be commended for their readiness, efforts and the information and guidelines provided to parties, media and general public.

“The political parties have been requesting for voter information in various different formats in a form that is useful to political parties that enables them to verify the data. The other critical factor is that the verification processes that may reduce suspicions and rumors,” Mr Karunaratne said.

Unity Fiji leader Savenaca Narube said he had not sighted the figures and he would not be able to comment.

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