Editorial comment – Making it count

Fiji's Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem with international observers. Picture SUPPLIED/Fijian Elections Office

THE announcement by the Multi-National Observer Group (MOG) yesterday that its main objective would be to ensure that Fiji’s 2018 General Election was “free and fair” would no doubt be welcomed.

The group, co-led by Australia, India and Indonesia, has signed a term of reference with the minister responsible for elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

They have a responsibility to observe and evaluate the functions and operations of the Fijian Elections Office and oversee the polling day process. Election observers from India are expected in the country soon.

The first staff from the MOG arrived in the country at the weekend.

Twelve election observers from Australia are expected in the country soon.

The announcement is important in the election process and sets in motion associated systems that should be in place as we count down to November 14.

The announcement also means members of the team can start their work leading up to the elections. Understandably there would be key scope areas the MOG would be focused on.

The group has an important role to play to ensure the processes are in place for an election that the people of Fiji can look forward to with confidence.

As we count down to the big day at the polls, we should remind ourselves about the importance of making our votes count.

There would definitely be some issues that need to be sorted out as we move closer to the date.

Yesterday’s announcement is another positive step towards realising the dreams of many voters.

We have a group that will observe the elections process and perhaps determine whether the polls have been conducted according to appropriate standards that we have committed ourselves to.

It isn’t difficult then to appreciate the fact that the process needs to be transparent and that the voters have confidence in the system. The onus now is on the voter to do the right thing and make his or her vote count.

It should now be about embracing as much information as possible that will help in the decision making process on November 14. That means being aware of what every aspiring candidate has to offer.

That’s where The Fiji Times comes in. We plan to disseminate information that is relevant for readers to make well informed decisions at the polls.

That means being part of the process of awareness.

Our challenge is to provide a level playing field in terms of coverage for aspiring candidates. The onus though is on you the voter to make that tick count.

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