Poll results hinge on Viti Levu, says Naidu

Professor in Governance and Development Studies,Vijay Naidu speaks to The Fiji Times in an earlier interview. Picture: ATU RASEA/FILE

THE 2018 General Election will be won and lost on Viti Levu where an estimated 80 per cent of the voters are located, says University of the South Pacific academic Professor Vijay Naidu.

Prof Naidu said the two divisions that had the largest number of voters were the Central and Western divisions.

“Political party offices and other campaign centres should have been established in strategic locations by now,” he said.

“The older, more established parties would have found this aspect of pre-election logistics easier to attend to as they would have just needed to re-activate offices and centres previously established.

“Urban centres such as Labasa, Waiveyo, Levuka and centres of administration in outer islands including Rotuma remain important to garner support from the remaining 20 per cent or so voters.”

On candidates, Prof Naidu said five political parties had announced their provisional candidates.

“They include NFP’s 45 provisional candidates, FLP’s 18, Unity Fiji’s 11, SODELPA’s 41 and most recently, FijiFirst’s 51.

Three other registered parties have yet to declare their candidates.

“The sooner parties announce their candidates, the more likelihood of these provisional candidates mustering resources to begin their campaign activities.”

He said for these provisional candidates, gathering and maintaining the support of voters would be critical in the coming weeks.

“It is noteworthy that political parties that have named candidates have selected them not only because they will attract support and votes but also because they can fund their own campaigns.

“Political parties in Fiji do not have access to public funds as in some other countries including our neighbour New Zealand, to broadcast their campaign.

It is likely that the bigger parties, and especially FijiFirst will have larger ‘war chests’ as they begin their campaigns.”

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