Now we wait

IT was a historic day for Fiji yesterday as the first democratic election was held after eight years. People flocked to polling stations in their vicinity early yesterday morning and cast their votes in order to avoid the rush later in the day.

According to reports from around the country, the situation was the same as people from all walks of life cast their votes before polling ended at 6pm.

During a press briefing at 4pm yesterday, Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said a high voter turnout was recorded in the morning.

The President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, who cast his vote at the Draiba Primary School, said it was now time to await the results of the counting, which started at the FMF Gymnasium in Suva last night.

“Everybody is happy to vote,” he said, adding that the voting process was “very easy”.

To gauge the percentage voter turnout, the Fijian Elections Office randomly picked four polling venues in the Central, Northern and Western divisions.

Of the 250 registered voters at two polling stations at Wainikoro Public School in the Northern Division, 187 people or 75 per cent cast their votes.

At the Waibau Community Hall in the Central Division, there was a 100 per cent voter turnout with all 238 registered voters casting their votes.

There were 867 registered voters for two polling stations at the Namoli Community Hall in Lautoka, of which 728 or 84 per cent voted.

In the Central Division, there were 764 registered voters for two polling stations at the Civic Centre in Suva, of which 587 or 77 per cent cast their votes.

Mr Saneem said there were not many voters in the afternoon.

Overall, he said, there was a high voter turnout at the polling stations with 527,000 registered voters expected to cast their votes.

In total 1460 polling stations were open – 598 in the Central; 563 in the Western; 274 in the Northern; and 25 in the Eastern divisions.

“It can be said that most voters made the effort to vote. I think the Fijian public has to be commended for it. I thank the voters, all Fijians who turned up, braved the sun and stood in the queues,” said Mr Saneem.