Editorial comment – A voter’s challenge

Voters queue up at the Draiba Primary School polling station in Suva during 2014 General Election. Picture: FILE/ATU RASEA

Now that we have the final approved list of candidates eligible for the 2018 General Election, attention will start shifting to the political parties.

It’ll be interesting to see how the parties target their audience — the masses.

Year 2014 showed us how the election will be fought.

There can be no doubts about visual impact among other things in this business end of the proceedings for starters.

The battle lines are drawn, the parties are eager to get a perfect footing ahead of the field, and the voters are on the sideline so to speak, with ears and eyes wide open.

A total of 235 candidates have been approved by the Fijian Elections Office to contest the election.

A media release last night by the chairman of the Electoral Commission Suresh Chandra, stated it had considered submissions of the Supervisor of Elections following the receipt of the judgement from Laitia Matalomani.

It upheld an appeal and directed that Mr Matalomani be added as the 235th candidate to the approved list of candidates for next month’s elections.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem had earlier said 243 candidates were nominated for the November 14 polls, but only 234 were approved after nine candidates were rejected.

Six political parties will be contesting the coming polls out of the eight eligible to contest.

They are the SODELPA, FLP, NFP, FF party, UF party and the HOPE party. Mr Saneem confirmed the Freedom Alliance party and the People’s Democratic Party had not filed any candidates’ nominations for the November 14 polls.

Freedom Alliance party earlier signed an agreement with FLP to have their candidates contest this election under the FLP banner, which was why no nominations were filed by the party.

Understandably changes have to be expected and given the fact that we are about four weeks away from the big day, anything can happen.

That’s just politics though.

Particular interest will no doubt focus on undecided voters. We realise the important role we must play as a responsible media organisation.

That is the challenge we have before us.

As campaigns lift in tempo, it is critically important that voters understand the various party manifestos and get to know who the various candidates are, what they stand for, how they present themselves in public and how they respond to questions at political meetings around the country.

Voters have a challenge to be well informed to make that important decision on November 14.

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