July 31, 2012



The swearing-in ceremony of the five Constitutional Commissioners today marks a significant step for Fiji along the path back to constitutionality and reform says the Acting President and Chief Justice, Mr Anthony Gates.
“The process towards the Peoples Charter has been completed and recently, we have seen the commencement of the Electronic Voter Registration,” Mr Gates said.
“All of this should ensure that as many persons are eligible to vote in the next elections and that the need for accuracy and integrity in our elections system cannot be over-estimated.”

Justice Gates also added that the wording of the oath of office which the Commissioners had taken is pursuant to section 11(2) of the Fiji Constitutional Process (Constitution Commission) Decree 2012 which is also set out in Schedule 3 at the end of the Decree.

“The business of taking an oath or affirmation is not a perfunctory step in one’s role, it is a mandatory requirement and must be taken prior to the commencement of the constitutional process,” Gates said.

“For your role is a quasi-judicial one in its insistence on political neutrality, openness and avoidance of conflict of interest.”

The Acting President also said that the Commissioners will be required to demonstrate a willingness to listen and to elicit views especially of the voiceless and that they should respect the views and aspirations of all people.

Highlighting changes that may take time to be accepted, Justice Gates also informed those present at the swearing-in ceremony that the courts will now accept the EVR card as evidence of identification.

The Constitutional Commission members that were sworn in today are Professor Yash Ghai, Peni Moore, Christina Murray, Satendra Nandan and Taufa Vakatale.

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