Crunch time

Former prime minister Laisenia Qarase, middle, speaking as a moderator during the political parties panel discussion and public forum. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

TIME is running out for political parties who have yet to appeal to the electorates.

This is the view of University of the South Pacific academic Dr Neelesh Gounder, who said some parties were yet to announce their candidates and election manifestos.

Dr Gounder said with the general election just around the corner, this was the time for opposition political parties to up their game or lose the battle against the ruling FijiFirst.

He said political campaigns by now should be at an all time high, with voters being given all the information necessary to make a choice.

Dr Gounder said some political parties were playing the “hide and seek” game and waiting for other parties to announce their manifestos and provisional candidates.

He said this was not a good idea because those parties that have already announced their provisional candidates have given the voters an option to choose from.

“Manifestos generally give emphasis to a party’s policy programs towards the campaign to enchant voters’ choices,” Dr Gounder said.

“It lays down policy priorities and broader visions linked to policies. Voters understand that when the victorious party takes government, it will implement its policy programs as outlined in the manifesto.”

He said political parties should not waste time arguing on petty issues such as who did what, but focus on attracting the Fijian voters who want better policies, security, jobs, lower cost of living and a decent wage.

“Out of three parties in Parliament now, only SODELPA has released its manifesto.

FijiFirst and NFP have indicated that they will be releasing theirs soon,” Dr Gounder said.

He said since FijiFirst was in government, it would try to tie to its manifesto what it achieved over the past four years.

“Thus it is expected to be a brief manifesto and also rely on Voreqe Bainimarama to play a leading role to attract voters.

“On the other hand, NFP is expected to produce a broad based and comprehensive policy centred manifesto.”

He said it would be interesting to see what other small parties and the new entrants to the political scene brought in their manifestos.

More Stories