Mohammed Saneem is the Supervisor of Elections for Fiji. He was appointed to this position by His Excellency the (then) President of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, on 28 March, 2014.
In this role, he is responsible for conducting national elections, the registration of voters, the registration of political parties and the registration of candidates. Mr Saneem also serves as the Secretary to the Electoral Commission.
Under his leadership, the Fijian Elections Office conducted the 2014 General Election. This Election was of historic significance as it was held after a lapse of 8 years and introduced a totally new electoral system in Fiji.
For the first time, Fiji introduced Biometric registration of voters and over 590,000 voters were registered. Over 84% of the 590,000 registered voters cast their ballot in the first ever 1 day election. The number of invalid votes recorded was approximately 0.75%, compared to 11.75% in 2009 and 9.6% in 2006.
Following the 2014 General Election, Mr Saneem has led the Fijian Elections Office to become a regional leader in advocating electoral best practices. The FEO developed a five year ‘2015-2019 Strategic Plan’ detailing a roadmap leading to improvements in Elections in the country.
Under Mr Saneem’s leadership, the FEO also introduced the Election Management System (EMS). The system is intended to provide an integrated platform for all aspects of election management.
In 2015, Mr Saneem headed the Pacific Islands Forum Election Observation Mission to the General Elections for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and was also part of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Observer Mission to the 2016 Vanuatu Snap Elections. In 2017, Mr Saneem joined the Commonwealth Election Observer Mission to the Tongan National Election.
Mr Saneem serves as a representative to the Steering Committee of the Commonwealth Electoral Network. He is also the Melanesian Rep to the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators Network (PIANZEA) Advisory Group. In 2015, Fiji became a member of the Association of World Electoral Bodies (AWEB) and in 2017, Mr Saneem was elected to the Executive Board of AWEB to represent the Oceania Region. He has also represented Fiji and the Fijian Elections Office in numerous international events.
Mr Saneem has attended conferences and trainings in Korea, Singapore, India and he has also attended Elections in Australia, New Zealand and Tonga.
Mr Saneem has helped establish donor arrangements and good relations with Electoral Management Bodies from Australia, New Zealand, India and Korea and also with the European Union.
Mr Saneem’s case study on Fiji’s use of biometric registration was published in a book by the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) titled “Introducing Biometric Technology in Elections”.
In preparation for the 2018 General Election for Fiji, Mr Saneem introduced the Fiji’s first ever and largest electronic Elections Officials Recruitment System and Computer Based Testing System.
In other appointments, Mr Saneem has led the Land Transport Industry Review as Chairperson, served as the Chairperson of the National Anti-Money Laundering Council and also as a Commissioner for the Legal Aid Commission.
Prior to these roles, Mr Saneem was appointed as the Acting Permanent Secretary for Justice, Anti-Corruption, Communications and Responsible for Elections.
Mr Saneem spent the early part of his career with the High Court of Fiji where he served as the Acting Chief Registrar, Resident Magistrate and Deputy Registrar-Legal.
Mr Saneem began his legal career in private practice after he successfully attained a Professional Diploma in Legal Practice and Bachelor of Law from the University of the South Pacific in Suva.
Mr Saneem was born and raised in Labasa where he attended Labasa College.