June 06, 2013

New electoral system in new constitution

Publish date/time: 05/06/2013 [17:02]

As Fiji awaits the announcement of the new constitution, one of the major changes being anticipated is the electoral system that will be used in the country for the first time.

The new constitution will also confirm the type of electoral system that will be adopted as we move towards the 2014 elections.

In the draft constitution prepared by the government's legal team, it was proposed that the election of members of parliament is by a multi-member open list system of proportional representation, under which each voter has one vote with each vote being of equal value.

It is proposed that parliament shall consist of 45 members.

According to the draft, there will be four electoral divisions. 

These are the Central, Eastern, Western and Northern divisions.

The Central division will be allocated 18 parliamentary seats, Western division 16 seats, Northern division 9 seats and Eastern division will have 4 seats.

While speaking to Fijivillage during the draft constitution sessions, Attorney General and Minister for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the proposed system will give the right to the voter to choose the individual candidates. 

Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed that people in each division has to place the number of ticks based on the allocation of seats in their division.

This means that people in the Central Division will choose 18 people and so forth.

This also means that the candidates will be ranked according to the number of votes received and the top 18 will go through to take up seat in the Central Division and the same will occur for the other divisions based on the seats allocated in those areas.  

Sayed-Khaiyum said intense voter education exercises will be conducted once the new electoral system is confirmed in the new constitution.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

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