23rd August 07:55 PM
Electoral processes to date has been transparent and credible - Multinational Observer Group
By Naveel Krishant
Friday 16/11/2018
The Multinational Observer Group with Co-Chair Mukesh Chandra [center]

The Multinational Observer Group has said in an interim statement that the electoral processes to date has been transparent and credible and that the outcomes are on track to reflect the will of the Fijian voters.

They say that the Group believes that Fijians were able to exercise their right to vote freely and that the voting process was conducted professionally and largely without error.

Co-Chair Mukesh Chandra from India says that the counting process can be time-consuming but they acknowledge this is the result of a high number of checks and balances.

Chandra says that the decision to suspend voting at 22 polling stations due to bad weather fully complies with the electoral law and international good practice.

He says they have also noted that some voters’ names were not on the list at the location they thought they were supposed to vote at.

Chandra says that in the vast majority of cases it was clear that either the voters did not check where they were supposed to vote  or they changed their details with the Fijian Elections Office over the past few years and had forgotten.

Chandra says their team noticed some inconsistencies in small number of polling stations in how certain electoral procedures were followed by Presiding Officers.

He says that their observers commented that these inconsistencies were clearly human error and not intentional misconduct adding that they have assessed these issues were very small in nature and insufficient to affect the outcome in any significant way.

One shortfall the group noted is the stipulation in the Electoral Act that there shall be no political party identification in official voter information adding for a proportional representation system, this lack of political party identification is unusual, and many voters told them they were confused without this information being officially provided. 

This was in remote areas.

Co-chair Jane Prentice says they do not necessarily believe this has affected the outcome but will make further recommendations in their final report.     

The group includes observers from Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, India, Canada, French Polynesia, Japan, PNG, Solomon Islands, USA, United Kingdom, France, Federated State of Micronesia, Rwanda, Republic of Korea, Tonga and Vanuatu.

They say they will be releasing other issues and recommendations in their final report.

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