July 22, 2013

A-G: Election need

Nanise Loanakadavu
Monday, July 22, 2013

FIJI needs an elections office that is fully geared all the time, says Attorney-General and Minister responsible for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He said it was more critical now that elections would be held every four years as articulated in the draft constitution.

He said, it has never geared up to be a fully functioning office for the length of its turnover, "in the sense that we only focus on elections office come election time then everybody forgets about it".

"There is no specific career path built in the elections office," he said. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said if people looked at all good and credible elections offices throughout the world, they actually had career paths where people specialised on awareness campaign, voter education, voter registration, logistics and there were a lot of good, young educated people who could in fact fill in that position.

He said the experts who assessed Fiji's elections capacity for the 2014 general elections would provide a report in the next two weeks.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the report would be on the entire elections office.

"We have said that we would like the elections to be held in one day so we will need to work on the logistical arrangements so that people need to ensure that there is transparency and credibility process."

He said also in the past there had been add on recruitment — for example, once an election was over governments took away the computers, vehicles and the two-way radios.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said these sort of things should not happen because Fiji needed an elections office that was fully geared for elections all the time.

"As you know elections will now be held sooner rather than later, every four years or every three and a half years, that's what the draft constitution provides."

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