The Electoral Commission has considered an appeal by Mr Laitia Matalomani and the Electoral Commission considered a copy of the judgment from his criminal conviction that was furnished to the Electoral  Commission and later verified through the Office of the Supervisor of Elections.

The Electoral Commission further considered the submissions of the Supervisor of Elections following the receipt of the judgment from Mr Laitia Matalomani and the Electoral Commission has thereafter upheld the appeal and the Supervisor of Elections has been directed to add Mr Matalomani as the 235th candidate to the approved list of candidates for the 2018 General Election.

Suresh Chandra
Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

-Ends-

Bula Vinaka ladies and gentlemen. I would like to give you an update on the nominations process that has now reached Day 13. Four Political Parties have submitted their nominations and we have received a total of 178 nomination from the four Political Parties.

FijiFirst filled its nomination with the FEO on 8 October, 2018 and we have completed the processing of the nomination for FijiFirst. Out of the 51 nominated candidates for FijiFirst, the Fijian Elections Office approved 50. The nomination for one nominee, Ms Naziah Ali was not approved on the basis of not being in the country for the requisite of minimum 18 months after the two years immediately preceding the writ.

We have referred the results of the nomination process to the party and they have until midday tomorrow in the event they wish to nominate another candidate in place of the person who was not approved or alternatively file an appeal with the Electoral Commission for reconsideration of the decision on 16 October, 2018.

The second party that nominated was SODELPA. The party attempted to file its nomination on 9 October, 2018, however, due to its failure to comply with the requirements of the nomination process as in the law to produce a bank cheque, the party was asked to return with its nominations at a later date once it had either a legal tender or bank cheque in the sum of $51,000 for its 51 candidates. Thereafter, the party filed its nomination on 11 October, 2018, and of the 51 candidates that were nominated by SODELPA, the FEO has approved 50 candidates and rejected the nomination of one candidate.

The nomination for Mr Adi Narayan has not been approved on the basis of non-confirmation of his status as it appears to be a dual citizenship. The information has been conveyed to SODELPA Secretariat and they have until tomorrow midday to replace the candidate that has not been approved or they could alternatively file an appeal with the Electoral Commission on Tuesday, 16 October, 2018 should they wish to do so.

The third Political Party that nominated was the National Federation Party also on 11 October, 2018.

The Fijian Elections Office has completed the processing of the nomination of the National Federation Party and 50 candidates from the Political Party have been approved and one candidate did not meet the as per the Electoral Act to be in the country for 18 months out of the 24 months preceding the date of the writ.

The Candidate, Mr Feroz Mohammed was out of the country around 228 days and as a result did not meet the requirements set out by the Electoral Act.

The National Federation Party has been informed of the decision and in the event they wish to do so, they can replace a candidate by midday tomorrow or alternatively they can appeal to the Electoral Commission on 16 October, 2018.

The last party that has filed it nomination with us was the Fiji Labour Party which filed its nominations on 12 October, 2018, and they nominated twenty-five candidates.

The Fijian Elections Office has completed the processing of all 25 candidates and following this we have informed the Fiji Labour Party that 22 candidates have been approved and three nomination have not been approved as the nominees have been found to have prior criminal convictions that disqualifies them under the Electoral Act.

The Fiji Labour Party may replace the candidates by midday tomorrow or alternatively file an appeal to the Electoral Commission on 16 October, 2018 before 4pm.

Ladies and gentlemen, as I said, today is Day 13 in the Electoral Calendar and the nominations for the 2018 General Election will close tomorrow at midday.

The Fijian Elections Office will not accept any further nominations after midday and any political party that nominates tomorrow and a decision is not made by midday, they will not be able to replace a candidate if we have not approved any of the nominations that have been filed with us.

Ladies and gentlemen I just wanted to also mention at this stage the processing time for political party nominations has vastly improved due to the FEO and all the agency partners that prepared for this General Election.

I wish to convey our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Office of the Chief Registrar, the Crime Records of the Fiji Police Force, the Department of Immigration and the Official Receivers Office for their assistance provided to us in expeditiously dealing with all the nominations that are lodged with the Fijian Elections Office.

The FEO has kept well within its 48-hour time promise for processing of nominations and we would like to ensure that all nominations that we receive by midday tomorrow are approved by us so that we can reach the newspapers for Tuesday.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Objections and Appeals period will start on Tuesday and any person who wishes to do so will be able to access the list of candidates firstly from the FEO Website and our social media pages and if we are able to get it done on time, in the Tuesday newspaper.

We will inform all Fijians of the locations where you may be able to access the list of approved candidates.

The Electoral Commission website has the forms available for you to access in terms of appeals and objections so ladies and gentlemen, in total we have processed 178 nominations.

The total approved candidates stands at 172. And the total number of candidates nominated that have not been approved is 6.

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

Independent candidates and political party candidates have until 12pm on 15th October, 2018 to submit their nominations to the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] in order to contest the 2018 General Election. “The Electoral Act contains very strict requirements regarding the submission of nomination forms before the deadline and therefore no nomination forms will be accepted by the FEO after the nomination period has ended,” said the Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem.

Nomination forms should be delivered to the Fijian Elections Office at 59-63 High Street, Toorak, Suva by 12noon on 15th October, 2018. Nomination forms should be accompanied by a deposit of $1,000.00 for each party candidate and $1,000.00 for each independent candidate. Independent candidates will also have to present a list of 1,000 supporters along with their nomination forms. Nominations will not be accepted unless accompanied by this deposit.

If a candidate wishes to withdraw his or her nomination form, he or she can do so by providing a written notice to the Supervisor of Elections no later than 12.00 pm on the day following the close of nominations, 16th October, 2018. Forms can be downloaded from www.feo.org.fj/registering-a-political-party/candidate-nomination-forms or collected from the FEO headquarters in Toorak, Suva.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] will resume all Voter Services Centres operations around the country from 11October, 2018 until the day before of the 2018 General Election. With polling to take place on 14 November, 2018, the FEO will ensure that voters are able to obtain their VoterCards right up to the day before Election Day.
Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem said voters who may have lost their card can still obtain replacement cards.

“While registration of new voters has closed, persons who are already registered can request replacement VoterCards from 11th October, 2018, right up to the day before Election Day,” he said. Voters also cannot change their details and Polling Venues as these services ceased on 1st October, 2018 when the Writ for the General Election was issued. Voter Services Centres in Suva, Nausori, Labasa, Savusavu, Rakiraki, Lautoka and Nadi will also remain open.

Voter Services will also be provided at the following locations to make it easier for Fijians to access services:
Sigatoka – Provincial Administrator’s Office, Talenavuruvuru;
Taveuni – Somosomo Provincial Office, Somosomo Village;
Nabouwalu – MSAAF Building, Hospital Road;
Seaqaqa – District Office;
Tavua – District Office, Nasivi Street;
Navua – Provincial Administrator’s Office, Ro Matanitobua House;
Ba – District Office, Koronubu House;
Keiyasi – District Office, Navatumali Government Station;
Korovou – Ground Floor, Waimaro Building;
Levuka – Provincial Administrator’s Office;
Kadavu – Provincial Administrator’s Office;
Vunidawa – Agriculture Building, Vunidawa Government Station;

“Voters need to be able to get their VoterCards replaced right up until Election Day and thus the need to resume services,” said Mr Saneem. “Voters can also text their Voter Number to 1500 and find out their Polling Venues and Polling Stations so they do not turn up at the wrong venue or station come Election Day.” All Voter Services Centre locations are available on the FEO website – www.feo.org.fj/voter-services-centre/ and on the FEO Facebook page – @Fijianelectionsoffice.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem, this afternoon approved the accreditation of 26 representatives from two media organisations in Fiji.

“This is the first set of media that have been approved to cover the 2018 General Election under the Media Accreditation requirements of the Electoral Act and facilitated by the Fijian Elections Office [FEO],” Mr Saneem said.

“The FEO has received interest from several other organisations to accredit their representatives for the coverage of the General Election and in the coming days we expect to accredit the other organisations have made enquires with us.

“At the moment, we can only say the organisations range from those within the country to those outside the country including Australian Media.”

-Ends-

 

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has published the Polling Venue List for the 2018 General Election.

The Polling Venue List contains the following details:

  1. Names of Polling Venues around the country; and
  2. Addresses of Polling Venues by Divisions

Supervisor of Elections [SoE], Mr Mohammed Saneem has called on members of the public, political parties, government agencies and all other stakeholders to access the list in order to locate their Polling Venues.

Mr Saneem said voters should be fully aware of where to vote during Polling Day to avoid any confusion of appearing at the wrong Polling Venue.

“Each Polling Venue may have as many Polling Stations as required to distribute voters and maintain a maximum of 500 voters per Polling Station,” he said.

Mr Saneem said voters can also access their Polling Venues by texting their EVR number to 1500 upon which voters will receive a text containing details of where to vote. This is a free service for all mobile networks.

Voters can also use check their Polling Venue by using the Polling Venue Locator on the FEO website: https://pvl.feo.org.fj/#/map or on the FEO Results App.

Printed copies of the Polling Venue List are available at the FEO headquarters and FEO Divisional Offices.

The list is also available on the FEO website at: www.feo.org.fj/polling-venues/.

-Ends-

 

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

The President of Republic of Fiji issued the Writ for the 2018 General Election to the Electoral Commission on 01 October 2018. We have 44 days from 01 October to conduct the General Election on 14 November 2018. The Electoral Commission is required to conduct Pre-poll and postal voting on or before this date.

At our meeting on 06 October, the Electoral Commission considered the timeline and has noted that the Fijian Elections Office will remain open on Saturdays and Sundays during the nomination period to facilitate the nomination of candidates and to fully allow the 14 days as required by the Constitution.

The Electoral Commission agrees that every single day in this period is essential. We have given thorough consideration of the fact that 2 days in the 44 day period are public holidays as well. Below is our decision in relation to operations on the 2 public Holidays – Fiji Day and Diwali.

Fiji Day
The Electoral Commission has approved the Fijian Elections Office to remain open on Fiji Day public Holiday to facilitate any nomination of candidate that may be made on that day as it falls within the 14 day nomination period.

Diwali Day
The Electoral Commission had earlier advised that Pre-poll for the 2018 General Election will be in the week immediately before the week in which Election Day falls. Based on this announcement, the Pre-poll for the 2018 General Election will be from 5 November to 10 November. Diwali public holiday falls during the Pre-poll.

The Electoral Commission has consulted Political Parties if Pre-poll should continue on Diwali Day and it has not received any objections to the same. The Supervisor of Elections also consulted Mr. Sarju Prasad, National President of the Sanatan Dharam of Fiji and Mr. Arun Padarath, National President of the Arya Patinidhi Sabha who also did not object to the continuance of the National Exercise.

Therefore, the Electoral Commission approves that all electoral activities shall continue as per the election calendar on the Public Holidays and weekends.

Suresh Chandra
Chairperson.

-Ends-

The Fijian Elections Office conducted the final Logistics Workshop for Political Parties following the announcement of the General Election to be held on 14th November, 2018 by His Excellency, President Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote.
Nominations for Candidates commenced on 2nd October, 2018 and on 3rd October, 2018, the Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem conducted workshop which was attended by Political Party representatives including observers from the Multi-National Observer Group at the Grand Pacific Hotel. Participants of the workshop were presented with the provisional pre-poll schedule as well as the pre-poll route maps and other logistics information regarding ballot box packing, ballot paper printing and postal vote packaging.

In explaining the workshop, Mr Saneem mentioned that it was necessary for Political Parties to be given all packing information considering Political Parties have made their intentions known to observe the election from ballot paper production right down till the return of materials to sensitive storage after the election.“What basically the Political Parties want to do is they want to be at every point in the process so that they are able to peruse and see the entire process for themselves,” he said. “I hope that with such levels of access the Fijian Elections Office is granting,
Political Parties are able to understand the process and at the end of the election are able to accept the results of the General Election based on their level of access.”

FijiFirst, SODELPA, Fiji Labour Party, Unity Fiji and Freedom Alliance were represented by three representatives each while Hope had two representative and National Federation Party had one representative at the half day workshop. They were provided with tentative Pre-poll schedules, tentative Pre-poll polling materials exchange sites for all pre-poll teams, FEO Hub Offices locations, presentation by the Supervisor of the Election and Pre-Poll Schedules and polling materials exchange sites maps.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Five more Australian Observers were accredited to be part of the Multi-National Observer Group for the 2018 General Election.

Australian MOG Team lead Alice Cawte was accredited along with Genevieve Richards, Andrew Elborn, Priya Sivakumaran and Toby Sharpe.

After the issue of Writ for the 2018 General Election, the Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem looks forward to more Observers arriving.

The co-leads of the MOG will be Australia, India and Indonesia.

The 2018 General Election will be held on 14th November, 2018 from 7.30am to 6.00pm.

-Ends-

 

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has accredited two Observers that will be part of the Multi-National Observer Group [MOG] for the 2018 General Election.

The co-leads of the MOG will be Australia, India and Indonesia.

In approving the accreditation, the Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem said that the FEO welcomes the MOG as an Observer to the General Election.

“We look forward to the Observer Missions activity in observing this election,” he said.

“The FEO is prepared to provide all the necessary information and support that the MOG will require to fulfil its mission.”

The two observers who have been approved are Seema Chandra and Daniel Kark from Australia.

More observers will arrive over the weekend in support of the MOG secretariat.

-Ends-

 

 

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

02 August, 2018

The following are the results of the Fiji Taxi Association [FTA] election which was conducted
by the Industrial Election team of the Fijian Election Office [FEO]:

The FEO confirms that Rabhen Bhan Singh is the new President of the FTA while Mahendra
Pratap Singh and Mohammed Faiyaz are the new Vice Presidents and Ashwin Ashis Lal is the
new General Secretary.
The positions of Assistant Secretary and Treasurer were uncontested and Shelwin Kumar
and Kamlesh Chand were respectively appointed.
The candidates duly elected are:

A total of 158 members out of the 276 registered members cast their ballot via postal vote
for the election which ran from Wednesday 25th July to Tuesday 31st July 2018.

-Ends-

26 July, 2018

MEDIA RELEASE

‘HOPE’ has been registered as Fiji’s latest political party after the Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem, approved the application that had been made on 4thJuly 2018.

“The applicant had successfully furnished all the particulars required under the law and hence the party has been duly registered,” he said.

‘HOPE’ becomes the 9th registered political party under the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Act 2013.

The total number of registered parties in Fiji currently stands at 8.

-Ends-

25 July, 2018

His Excellency the President, Major General (Rt’d) Jioji Konrote paid a courtesy call to the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] today.

Addressing the staff of the FEO, His Excellency commended the work that has been put into preparing for the 2018 General Election.

“I have been personally following your work and I would like to, on behalf of the nation, I convey my personal gratitude and appreciation for getting our electoral system ready and for regularly informing and updating the members of the public about the progress to date.”

Electoral Commission Chairperson Mr Suresh Chandra in his opening remarks also acknowledged the Fijian Elections Office.

“The Fijian Elections Office continues to research and refine our electoral processes to ensure that we are in compliance with internationally accepted best practice as well as implementing principles that are becoming regarded as internationally accepted

President Konrote was also given a tour of the FEO Headquarters to meet with staff and observe some of the operations currently underway. He was also shown material that the FEO has developed for voter awareness and education in the lead up to Election Day.

His Excellency has expressed confidence in the capacity and capability of the FEO to deliver the 2018 General Election.

“I have no doubts that the constitutionally appointed Electoral Commission and the Supervisor of Elections and your staff have spent sleepless nights and left no stones unturned to ensure that the nation is ready for the next round of election.”

Supervisor of Elections Mr Mohammed Saneem thanked His Excellency for paying a courtesy call to the Fijian Elections Office and for his support to the FEO.

“Thank you for sharing with us your vision and your words of inspiration which will surely motivate us all to strive towards excellence in preparations for the 2018 General Election. “

“Your lively, vibrant personality and humble approach is something we will try to emulate when we deliver services and engage with them because the people of Fiji deserve nothing but the best,” he added.

Following the tour, the President had a private meeting with members of the Electoral Commission where he was provided a comprehensive Election preparation update by the Supervisor of Elections.

President Konrote was assured that the FEO is well on track with preparations for the 2018 General Election.

His Excellency in his parting words endorsed the activities of the Fijian Elections Office in the lead up to polling.

 

-Ends-

As of 03 July, 2018, the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has lifted the temporary freeze on the amendment of voter details in the Western Division which was placed to prevent possibility of fraudulent changes for the homecare initiative.

Voters who have to update their details can visit the nearest FEO Office or Voters Services Centre to make necessary changes.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

07/06/18

 

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                       

Electoral Commission receives vehicle from Government of India

Indian High Commissioner, Mr Vishvas Sapkal with The Electoral Commission Chairperson, Mr Suresh Chandra at the Vehicle handover ceremony

The Electoral Commission this morning received a vehicle donated by the Indian Government through the Indian High Commission.

In taking delivery of the vehicle, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mr Suresh Chandra told the Indian High Commissioner, Mr Vishvas Sapkal, that it would boost their preparations for the 2018 General Election.

“An election poses to be the largest logistics exercise that any country would conduct in peace time,” Mr Chandra said.

“Such a massive operation must always be supported by the presence of logistics equipment such as vehicles for transport.

“Considering the effort that is required to conduct an election in a day as well as the requirements for the logistics of the Electoral Commission in travelling to and from other engagements, such an important gesture by the Indian Government will go a long way in facilitating the requirements of elections.”

Mr Sapkal informed Mr Chandra that the Government of India intends to further furnish the Electoral Commission with four more vehicles.

Mr Chandra said commended the effort of the High Commission of India for strengthening relations between the Government of India and Electoral Commission and the Fijian Elections Office.

“With the assistance of the our international partners and the support of our local stakeholders, we intend to make the 2018 General Election a platform for all Fijians to express their will with Confidence, Security and Freedom,” he said.

The Indian High Commission earlier donated indelible ink to the FEO for use in the 2018 General Election.

-Ends-

The Fijian Elections Office (FEO) will be extending the Contract Signing/ EO package distribution period from 14 to 19 May 2018. This will accommodate the Election Official (EO) applicants who are yet to sign their contracts.

After 21 May 2018, those applicants who have not signed their contracts will be replaced by EO applicants from the reserve pool.

The table below consist of all Eos name who have been assigned to the Polling Station and are yet to sign their contracts.

If your name appears on this listing, you may call the FEO officials hotline on 8917758 or 8971159 or email via eofficials@feo.org.fj to:

1. Update your personal details

2.Time, date and venue of current Contract Signing Venues

The FEO wishes to congratulate all the Eos who have already accepted and signed their contracts with us.

You can view the pdf listing by clicking here.

 

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has extended the Continuous Engagement Programme for Election Officials to next week in light of the weather conditions.

All public venues for contract signing in the Central and Western Division have been temporarily closed and these services will now be based at our Divisional Offices at Vanua Arcade in Suva and at Bouwalu Street in Lautoka.

The public venues will also be closed until 09 May, 2018.
“The FEO has noted that the rainy weather is not conducive to the signing of contracts and handing over of manuals to Election Officials. For the safety of all persons, we have taken the decision to extend the Programme to next week by which time the weather is expected to improve,” says Director Corporate Services Mr Sanjeshwar Ram.

The programme will continue as scheduled in the Northern Division as no adverse weather has been reported.

“Because we are set up in public places, the rain could damage electronic equipment and is also an inconvenience to the general public. We will be back at the same locations from next Wednesday.

The Fijian Elections Office apologizes for any inconvenience caused.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Supervisor of Elections conducts briefing for International Community

The Supervisor of Elections at the diplomatic briefing

The Supervisor of Elections Mr Mohammed Saneem this afternoon conducted the second round of briefings for the International community to update them on preparations for the 2018 General Election.

In attendance were representatives from all major Embassies, High Commissions and regional institutions in Fiji.

Apart from updates on election preparations, the Supervisor of Elections also briefed them on key projects that the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] is undertaking in relation the Election this year.

“Whilst the date is not known as yet, it’s important for the FEO to not only keep the voters informed but also our regional and international partners as to the progress Fiji is making towards the General Election”, said Mr Saneem.

The presentation also covered various aspects of the Multinational Observer Group’s 2014 recommendations and the manner in which the Fijian Elections Office has handled the said recommendations.

The Supervisor of Elections concluded the event by thanking the international community for their support to the Fijian Elections Office in capacity development and financial support and collaboration.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at

communications@feo.org.fj

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] today successfully conducted its first day of Trade Union Election on the recently acquired Touch Screen Voting Machines [TSV machines] through the Association of World Election Bodies [A-WEB].

The Fiji Nursing Association is the first union to utilize the machines.

The TSV machines were used at its Annual General Meeting held at Novotel, Lami today, in which 23 members of the Fiji Nursing Association cast their votes.

The FNA has a large membership which is distributed all over the country. 324 nurses have voted through post while the remaining made use of the Touch Screen Voting Machines at the meeting venue today.

Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem said in terms of the analysis of the usage, the voting machines were simple to use.

“Whilst the Fijian Elections Office has noted that it will have to implement a more rigorous awareness and training exercise on the usage of the machines; the overall feedback from the voters was that it was easy and convenient.”

“The FEO will continue to use Electronic Voting Machines for Trade Union Elections in order to expose Fijians to more advanced means of voting and counting in Fiji,” he said.

Mr Saneem in recognizing the importance of today’s event mentioned that it was a step into the future and a hope that in due course Fiji would consider more introduction of electronics in elections.”

The 2018 General Election will NOT have any usage of Electronic Voting Machines.

The Fiji Nursing Association election concludes tomorrow.

 

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Stakeholders and business houses are being invited to participate in postal voting awareness sessions by the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] in a bid to prepare them for the 2018 General Election.

FEO Director Operations, Anaseini Senimoli, said they approached service providers where staff – who are voters would benefit from postal voting services.

Business houses in various sectors which would be providing services on Election Day are the major targets as their employees might not be able to access their polling venue if they were working on the day of the elections.

“We had identified our stakeholders and divided them in the following sectors – Tourism Sector, Transport Sector, Emergency Services Sector, Security and Boarder Control Sector, Infrastructure and Utilities Sector and Business Sector,” she said.

Ms Senimoli said awareness was integral for employees and stakeholders in these sectors, as they may be working on Election Day and therefore are eligible for postal voting.

“This week, a total of 19 participants from 16 organisations turned up for the awareness session which included one from the Northern Division, seven from the Western Division, and 12 from the Central Division.”

“As part of the presentation, we informed participants on the grounds or eligibility criteria for postal voting as outlined in Section 67 (7) of the Electoral Act 2014, the postal voting process, how to fill out the postal voting application, important timelines such as opening and closing of applications and deadline of receiving postal ballots along with how we’re going to process their applications, packing, dispatching of postal packs and receiving of returned postal ballot papers.”

It is anticipated that staff who attend these awareness sessions will in turn convey the necessary information to their staff who may be working on Election Day and want to apply for Postal vote.

“We are planning to conduct similar sessions in the next couple of weeks as we are yet to invite other organisations.”

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Deputy Supervisor of Elections, Ms Karyl Winter

The Fijian Elections Office has appointed Karyl Winter as the Deputy Supervisor of Elections for the conduct of the 2018 Parliamentary Elections.

Ms Winter has significant experience in the management of elections, both in New Zealand and as a technical team leader for the New Zealand Electoral Commission programme of electoral assistance to election management bodies in the Pacific.

She possesses 27 years of experience in elections and was a Returning Officer for many years and has been the Regional Manager for New Zealand’s South Island for two elections.

Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem said Ms Winter has extensive knowledge of the Fijian Electoral System and its processes which is a significant asset for the FEO for the 2018 General Election.

Ms Winter is on secondment from the New Zealand Electoral Commission and said she was looking forward to the conduct of the 2018 General Election.

“The New Zealand team has been working with the FEO over several years to help prepare to conduct this election, and it will be rewarding to see all those plans in operation at election time”, she said.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Elections Officials for the 2018 General Election who are yet to sign their contracts with the Fijian Elections Office have until 28th March, 2018 to do so.

Director Corporate Services, Mr Sanjeshwar Ram, said that the Fijian Elections Office is currently in the process of having the contracts signed by all the successful applicants through the various centers Fiji wide.

This process began on the 6th of March and will continue until the 28th of March.

“A total of 520 Elections Officials have signed their contract since March 6, 2018 with 244 signing in the Central Division, 101 in the Eastern Division, 88 in the Northern Division and 87 in the Western Division,” he said.

Mr Ram said the target is to have over 8,000 contracts signed by end of next week.

Successful applicants are being notified via SMS of their assigned venue of contract signing.

Mr Ram said the contract signing venues will close on 28th March, 2018.

“Our venues to sign contracts have been advertised in both the daily newspapers and we urge Elections Officials to come forward to their assigned venues to sign their contracts by the deadline.

This is the final opportunity we are giving to all the successful applicants,” he said.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

02/03/2018

VOTER SERVICES EXPANDED AROUND THE COUNTRY

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has expanded its services around the country.

As of today, Voters Services are available at the following locations:

  • Sigatoka – Provincial Administrator’s Office, Talenavuruvuru, Sigatoka
  • Taveuni – Cakaudrove Provincial Office, Somosomo, Taveuni
  • Nabouwalu – Naulumatua House
  • Seaqaqa – Seaqaqa Assistant District Office
  • Tavua – District Office
  • Navua – Provincial Administrator’s Office
  • Ba – District Office
  • Keiyasi – District Office, Navatumali Government Station, Keiyasi
  • Korovou – Police Bure – Korovou
  • Levuka – Provincial Administrator’s Office
  • Kadavu – Provincial Administrator’s Office [Vunisea]

Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem said the initiative is a bid to provide services in areas where the FEO did not have Divisional Offices or Voter Services Centres.

“Fijians, Voters or potential voters who wish to register or get their VoterCards replaced or, update their details can now visit any of these locations around the country to access Voter Services,” he said.

“We are making these services available now so that during Election time, no one faces difficulties in accessing services.”

Acting Director Strategic Development and Communications, Edwin Nand said Fijians will not have to travel far to access services as these office locations were closer to residential locations.

“It was an opportune time for the FEO to take advantage of the existing machinery to create an opportunity within that machinery for Fijians to benefit from Voter Services for the upcoming General Election whenever it may be held,” he said.

Details of the new Voter Services Centre locations are available in newspapers from tomorrow and also on website – www.feo.org.fj/voter-services-center/ and on the FEO Facebook page – @Fijianelectionsoffice.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

31/01/18

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                             

Verification of Provisional Voter List commences

The Fijian Elections Office has commenced the verification of the 2018 General Election Provisional Voter List through the use of the district advisory councilors and the Turaga ni Koro’s around Fiji.

Following a successful meeting with the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and with the assistance of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, the FEO has begun distributing the Provisional Voter List to respective Turaga ni Koros so that they may be able to take it to their areas and verify against those who are present in those areas under the Voter List.

The FEO anticipates that this exercise may take up to three weeks and by the time the National Voter Registration Drive starts, the FEO hopes to have received all the Provisional Voter List back in order for it to be prepared to make necessary changes when teams visit the places on the ground.

The FEO will also shortly launch an SMS platform for Fijians to be able to text their voter number and verify their polling stations.

“We are still well in time to allow Fijians who may have now changed their residential address to apply to have their polling station details amended,” the Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem said.

“This is to avoid any inconveniences on Election Day if voters do not change their venues in time.”

The Provisional List of Polling Venues for the whole country has also be published on the FEO website and is available at www.feo.org.fj/polling-venues and any Fijian who wishes to peruse this is invited to do so.

According to the Electoral Act, the last day for voter registration will be the date that writ is issued and as such Fijians have every opportunity right now if they have not been registered to take advantage of the registration platforms available at many of our Voter Services Centres around the country.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

30 January, 2018

We have this afternoon witnessed statements made by Lynda Tabuya who is no longer from PDP. Her press conference this afternoon is purely political and we question her motives at asserting the findings of the FEO towards other events concerning workers.

Lynda Tabuya must understand that FEO’s actions on PDP are purely on her own failures to follow the law and the PDP Constitution. This is clearly evident and not disputed by her.

We have once again noted that she completely fails in her understanding of the law and is surely misguided when she says that the SoE released minutes of the meeting on 07 December 2017. Members of the media are invited to check the press release of yesterday which only reveals the SoE’s findings and not any other matter.

The SoE clearly has the powers to make his findings publicly known when exercising public function such as the current case of requiring the PDP to comply with the law. Ms Tabuya has in fact revealed more about the 07 December 2017 meeting and the role of Felix Anthony in PDP than was found by the SoE.

The findings on the MoU of 07 December 2017 were made public. Following the receipt of additional information, it is found that this MoU signed by PDP did not have proper Constitutional authorization of the PDP Management Board.

It is hoped that Lynda Tabuya can understand the basis of the SoE’s decision in an objective manner. Of course we cannot comment on her obvious attempts at politicizing this matter to shroud obvious failures to comply with PDP Constitution and the Political Parties Act.

The FEO operates within the laws that created it and at all times ensures that public law action it undertakes has proper legal and factual basis.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

29 January, 2018

MEDIA RELEASE

The Registrar of Political Parties has this afternoon lifted the suspension of PDP to allow the PDP to comply with the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding & Disclosures) Act, 2013 [ACT].

“Following the receipt of various documents from the PDP, we have established that the officials had neglected and/or failed to ensure that they had properly implemented the requirements of the PDP Constitution in particular, in relation to the appointment of an acting President following the resignation of Lynda Tabuya so that the Party was able to duly comply with the requirements of section 11 of the Act” explained Mohammed Saneem Supervisor of Elections and Registrar of Political Parties.

“We have therefore lifted the suspension so that PDP can hold a proper Management Board Meeting as per its Constitution and then appoint various office holders who can then sign off on the application required under section 11 of the Act.”

The Registrar has in his letter to PDP today also made known the following findings:

  1. Meeting of Management Board on 07 December 2017

It is noted that the minutes of this meeting were recorded by (the now resigned) Lynda Tabuya (the then President) and not the General Secretary as required by the PDP Constitution. The Registrar notes that the Constitution of PDP requires the presence of 5 Management Board members as quorum. In this case, it is noted that Felix Anthony, despite being present in the meeting, was not a member of the Management Board and therefore the Meeting on 07 December 2017 did not meet the quorum required pursuant to clause 11.3 of the PDP Constitution. *

  1. Office of the President of PDP

Following the resignation of Lynda Tabuya as President, the PDP was required under clause 19.3 of the PDP Constitution to ‘temporarily fill the vacancy via a vice president voted by a majority of the Management

Board.’ We find that PDP has 4 Vice President positions as per clause 20.1 of its Constitution and any of these 4 were eligible.

  1. Vice President

It is noted that only Vijay Sigh resigned as Vice President of the Party. Therefore, the PDP should, according to its Constitution have 3 other remaining Vice Presidents.

On the basis of the above findings, the Registrar has found that the absence of various Office Holders in PDP breaches its own Constitution and has therefore required the PDP to rectify this breach. The follow-on effect will facilitate the application under section 11 of the Act to be properly made.

“The office of the Registrar has taken this step to ensure that the Party is able to remedy the breaches and also urges office holders of all parties to ensure that they properly check the requirements under the Act and the Party Constitution in the performance of their functions therein.”

The PDP has until 28 February 2018 to remedy the breach failing which de-registration procedures under the Act will activate.

*Members of the media will note that it was this meeting that authorized the former President of PDP to sign an MOU with Social Democratic Liberal Party.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Final call-out for Election Official applications

Only 10 days remain for persons who wish to apply for positions as Election Officials in the 2018 General Election.

The last phase of recruitment began on 05 January 2018 and will end on 26 January 2018.

Fijian Elections Office [FEO] Director Corporate Services Mr Sanjeshwar Ram has confirmed additional recruitment venues are being set up in locations where the response has been low.

“Our teams will be at the FEO Divisional Offices in all four Divisions, we are also sending two teams to Kadavu and another team to Taveuni. This is to ensure that the opportunity to apply is available to as many people as possible in these final days. For the Western Division, we are particularly interested in applications from Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki.”

Recruitment at Divisional Offices will be available on the following dates:

“The FEO has made every effort to enable all eligible Fijians to apply to work in the 2018 General Election, and this is the final opportunity for persons who have not done so. Individuals must understand that there will be no further recruitments once this exercise ends on the 26th of January 2018,” said Mr Ram.

The FEO recruitment teams will be in Taveuni from 22 January to 26 January 2018, while two teams will cover Kadavu from 22 January to 25 January 2018.

Full details of the recruitment dates and venues are available on the FEO website as well as our facebook pages.

Applicants are reminded to bring along their VoterCard, current/active bank account details, copy of FNPF statement and TIN letter or joint card.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] launched Fiji’s first voter education curriculum for Year 10 school students this morning.

The curriculum which is called Introduction to Elections: A Learning Module for Year 10 Social Science, consists of the following materials:

    1. Students Workbook;
    2. Teachers Manual; and
    3. Mock Election Kit

The Electoral Commission Chairperson Mr Suresh Chandra during the launch said “the curriculum handed over this morning will train 16 year olds about the Fijian Electoral Process.”

“In 2 years’ time, these 16 year olds will join the over 620,000 already registered Fijians as voters.”

The curriculum has 5 lessons and the last one is the culminating activity which is a mock simulation practical activity.

This curriculum is aimed at giving a hands on experience to students who have not yet reached the age of eighteen [18] to actually learn how to cast a vote.

Students will use the Mock Election Kit consisting of mock election materials to conduct a mock election activity in their schools. Some of the materials in the kit include ballot boxes, ballot papers, voting screens, Voter Instruction Booklets and VoterCards.

The FEO has printed 40,000 mock ballot papers for this project. In this activity, students will play and demonstrate the role of the SoE, Presiding Officer, Polling Day Workers, Observer, Media Official, Polling Agent and voters.

The mock election activity is simplified keeping in mind the ability of Year 10 students to understand and absorb the required information.

Three videos have also been developed for this purpose which will assist the teachers and students to conduct Voting, Counting and Seat Allocation.

The FEO has printed 20,000 copies of Student’s Workbook and 2,000 copies of the Teacher’s Manual which will be distributed to 16,105 students in 178 secondary schools throughout Fiji.

This website has user friendly and disability friendly features such as text-tospeech feature which can be utilized by students who are visually impaired. Students and teachers can access the website by using the web address www.votereducation.feo.org.fj.

The FEO has also conducted two [2] phases of Training of Trainers [ToT]; the first being for FEO Core Staff and the second for FEO Trained Trainers who will be sent out in the field to train 348 Social Science teachers Fiji wide.

Supervisor of Elections Mr Mohammed Saneem said “the Fijian Electoral Education Centre will conduct nationwide short trainings for social science teachers to ensure that there is consistency in the delivery of the content.”

“There is also a section for teachers on the FEO Voter education website to provide access to more materials that may refine their delivery of the materials. A voter education website has also been created for this activity.”

“The efforts of the developers of this curriculum is in line with the Electoral Commission’s theme, ‘Raising the Standards in the Delivery of Elections in Fiji’ and this is something we are very proud of,” said Mr Saneem.

“This year, we expect more than 16,100 students to go through this course in Term 1,” he added.

In addition, videos of ToT will be uploaded on the voter education website for those teachers who need to revisit certain areas of the curriculum

-ENDS-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

With the final round of Election Officials recruitment to begin on 08 January 2018, the Fijian Elections Office is calling out to persons who have already applied but not attended the half day training to come forward.

Director Corporate Services Mr Sanjeshwar Ram says 1,539 applicants who have been selected for training have been unable to confirm a training date.

“We are moving ahead with our election preparations and can’t afford to be held back because some persons are having difficulty in making time for this half day training session.”

The next round of training begins from 22 January 2018 and all applicants who have been unavailable for training so far are encouraged to contact the Fijian Elections Office to book their date, time and venue.

“The FEO has decided that individuals who cannot make an effort to attend the half day training this time around will not be considered for Election Officials recruitment”, said Mr Ram.

The Fijian Elections Office also confirms that the same decision has been taken for 832 applicants who are unreachable via the mobile phone numbers provided during recruitment.

“These persons have not been completely ruled out as yet – they have a final chance to reach out to the FEO and make the necessary arrangements.

To date, a total of 10,281 Election Official applicants have been trained in all Divisions.

-Ends-
Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

06/12/17

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                              For Immediate Release

The Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem, has this afternoon refused the application for registration by the ‘proposed Zionist Party.’

Mr. Saneem outlined that following the verification of members exercise, it was found that the application failed to meet the required numbers for Central and Western Divisions.

“The application only had 1880 members out of the required 2000 for Central and 1633 members out of the required 1750 for the Western Division.”

Mr. Saneem further stated that the Constitution of the proposed party also did not meet the minimum requirements for the Political Parties as per the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Act, 2013.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Yesterday, (23/11/17), the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] conducted a briefing for the international community on the preparations as at now leading up to the 2018 General Election.

Heads of Missions and senior representatives attended this briefing which was opened by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mr Suresh Chandra.

In welcoming the guests Mr Chandra remarked that “since this is the first time in Fiji’s history where a rather properly resourced election management body has been in place, it is ideal for us to talk elections and election preparation progress 1 month before the election year proper”.

“Notably, there is a high level of interest in elections in any country – particularly from its friends, development partners and international and regional bodies. Fiji is no different and we feel privileged to be the ones to see this process through,” Mr Chandra said.

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem, presented at the briefing on key components of the election preparations.

Specific topics such as ongoing voter registration, election operations framework, election staffing and training requirements, political party interactions and capacity building, as well as technological and ICT enhancements were covered.

The FEO also shared some of its strategies in approaching voter awareness for the 2018 General Election.

Mr Saneem conveyed to the 53 representatives that it was the intention of the FEO to be election ready on the 01 April, 2018.

The briefing was attended by representatives from Australia, New Zealand, United States, China, India, Japan, Korea, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, European Union, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the United Nations.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Mr Suresh Chandra

Handover of Touch Screen Voting Machine and Equipment for Server Room

Suva – 23rd November, 2017 – 10:00am

 

The Director General of A-WEB, Mr Seongbae Kang, The Korean Ambassador to Fiji, Mr Kim Seong-in; KOICA Country Director, Ms Hyunwon Kim; Fellow Electoral Commissioners; The Supervisor of Elections; Distinguished guests.

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very warm welcome to the Fijian Elections Office.

I would like to specially extend a warm welcome to our distinguished guests from the Association of World Election Bodies [A-WEB] based in Incheon, Korea.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we all know technology plays a very important role in our everyday lives. The first thing that many of us do in the morning is look at our mobile phones.

Whether it is for turning off alarms; checking the time or to read the daily news even before holding the newspaper. Apart from smartphones, most of our daily activities involve the usage of technology such as laptops, tablets, e-ticketing machines and the list continues.

Ladies and gentlemen, the use of information and communication technologies in the electoral process is something that we should not be afraid of. The introduction of ICT in elections is generating both interest and concern among the people around the world.

Today most Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) in the world use new technologies with the aim of improving the electoral process. The appropriate application of technology to elections can increase administrative efficiency, reduce long term costs and enhance political transparency.

Ladies and gentlemen, while I can confirm that we will not be using any electronic voting systems in the 2018 General Election, it does not mean we cannot try it anywhere else.

Today we will receive 53 touchscreen voting machines from AWEB which will be used for Trade Union Elections in the country as well as elections for the University Student Bodies.

The FEO conducts up to 100 elections for Trade Unions in the country and these machines are specifically for use in these elections. In fact, the FEO has conducted more than 200 elections for trade unions to date since 2014.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is just a mere opportunity for just us to explore what technologies are there in elections so that we can test it on small scale elections.

We believe in the ability of the Touch Screen Voting machine to simplify the election processes and minimize cost while at the same time give Fijians the opportunity to experience voting as they would in the Republic of Korea, Estonia, Australia, Belgium, India and the United States to name a few.

The use of Touch-screen Voting Machines means that small scale elections can be conducted much quicker, with more efficiency, fewer resources and less manpower while still delivering high standards.

We understand that there are more than 25000 registered members of trade unions but the impact of that experience should be multiplied 5 times because in Fiji we have grog bowl discussions and we expect the topic of trade unions to be discussed around grog bowls.

This is a very high level of outreach that we tend to obtain by simply introducing a new gadget in the voting process. Whilst I reiterate that the 2018 General Election will not have any electronics involved, the Electoral Commission welcomes the FEOs futuristic approach in exploring what’s out there in the market and ensuring that Fiji is not left behind in this age of information enhancement.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is just one of the many examples of how the FEO is committed to the theme, ‘Raising the Standards in the Delivery of Elections in Fiji’, set out by the Commission.

To A-WEB, I extend my sincere thanks for your assistance and contribution towards the development of this country as a whole and I look forward to more collaborations in the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your attendance to witness this historic handover.

Thank you very much or as they say in Korean, Gam-sah-amnida.

7040 applicants have successfully completed the first phase of training as part of the Election Officials recruitment process for the Fijian Election Office [FEO].

The first phase involves a half day training conducted by the Fijian Electoral Education Centre [FEEC].

 

Training is being conducted in all four Divisions with the breakdown as follows:

Division
Northern – 926

Central – 3626

Western – 2288

Eastern – 200

The FEO has intensified training in recent weeks and as of 14th November, 2017 there remain 5061 persons who are yet to be trained.

“These numbers will drop further as we progress with training and continuously update our System. With training sessions scheduled 3 times a day from Tuesday to Saturday every week, the FEO is confident that all successful applicants will be catered for in the coming weeks” said Director Corporate Services Sanjeshwar Ram.

“However, I urge applicants to ensure that their details submitted to the FEO are accurate. We have had instances where our training team has been unable to reach individuals because their mobile phones aren’t working.”

Mr Ram adds there are currently about 400 applicants who cannot be reached for confirmation of training, and they need to call 1501 or email eofficials@feo.org.fj to update their contact details. This is vital for individuals to confirm whether they have been selected for Election Officials half day training.

The FEO would also like to remind applicants who have attended training that they need to submit the following details: FNPF account number, Tax Identification Number and current active bank account details.

These details are necessary to process payment of allowances for persons who have attended the half day training.

Details for Round 2 of the Recruitment Drive will be announced in due course.

ENDS.

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

The Fijian Elections Office has concluded the 2017 Overseas Voter Registration Drive with only Nauru, the United Kingdom and the East Coast of the United States left to be covered before the end of the year.

The FEO teams covered Canada, the West Coast of the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Marshall Islands, Malaysia and Korea from October 3 and November 6, 2017.

Teams were sent directly to these countries so that they could carry out registrations at key events organized by the Fijian communities mostly surrounding the Fiji Day celebrations.

Whilst there were certain difficulties that were faced by the teams including but not limited to lack of passports or unavailability of the exact requirements for registration, we still managed to register a total of 696 new voters.

The FEO also during these exercises managed to provide voter election services to up to 2900 Fijians.

A breakdown is provided below:

COUNTRY NEW REGISTRATIONS CORRECTIONS REPLACEMENT ENQUIRIES TOTAL ENGAGEMENT
Canada 13 11 3 72 99
United States of America 274 245 36 331 886
New Zealand 212 184 102 469 967
Australia 159 178 41 358 736
Marshall Islands 16 51 0 55 122
Malaysia 8 18 0 35 61
Korea 14 7 5 3 29
TOTAL 696 694 187 1323 2900

During the Pacific Islands Countries Registration Drive, a total of 1060 voters were serviced in Tonga, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Tuvalu, American Samoa, Western Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Australia.
Teams were also sent to the Pacific Island Countries between March 17 and May 16, 2017 to ensure that Fijian in our neighboring nations are able to register to cast their vote.

Voter Services to these countries included 616 new registrations, 405 corrections to details and 39 obtained the replacement Voter2.0 Card.

A breakdown is provided below:

COUNTRY NEW REGISTRATIONS CORRECTIONS REPLACEMENT TOTAL ENGAGEMENT
Tonga 155 25 6 186
Kiribati 27 10 6 43
Cook Islands 174 124 0 298
American Samoa 124 70 1 195
Western Samoa 53 22 11 86
Vanuatu 31 41 5 77
PNG 17 72 10 99
Solomon Islands 4 9 0 13
Tuvalu 9 32 0 41
Australia 22 0 0 22
TOTAL 616 405 39 1060

Director Operations Anaseini Senimoli in her remarks mentioned that despite the fact that we continued a lot awareness since last year, some members of the community were not able to bring all the required documents and we were not able to register them.

“Any person who wishes to still register may have to now do so in Fiji as registration overseas is not likely to be conducted until later next year,” she said.

Persons who will be voting by post will need to wait for the announcement of the Election date to register for Postal Voting.

The FEO would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other stakeholders for their assistance in the coordination of logistics and other facilitation in host countries.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

20th  November, 2017

The Director of Operations for the Fijian Elections Office, Ms. Anaseini Senimoli participated as an observer at the recent Tongan National Election for the Pacific Islands Forum.

“It was an exciting opportunity for me to observe the Tongan National Election especially since we are in preparation mode for our election next year.” explains Ms. Senimoli.

In welcoming the Director’s participation, Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem said election observations and visitor programs assist greatly in building capacity and always has a positive impact on the FEO.

Tonga National Election was conducted on 16 November 2017.

The FEO has so far attended Election observation programs in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tonga and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

The FEO has also participated in election visitor programs in the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

The KINGDOM OF TONGA

NATIONAL PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

16 NOVEMBER 2017

INTERIM STATEMENT

Hon Margaret Wilson DNZM

Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group

Saturday 18 November 2017

NUKU’ALOFA

“We congratulate the Kingdom of Tonga for participating peacefully and in numbers in their national election to decide their leaders in the next Parliament.”

The Commonwealth Observer Group was invited here by the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga. Since our arrival on 9 November, we have been warmly welcomed by everyone we have met. Before the election, we met with the Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet, the Speaker of Parliament, representatives of the Nobles of the Realm, the Electoral Commission, candidates, civil society groups, women and youth groups, Tonga Media Council, and members of the diplomatic corps.

Members of our Group were deployed to Vava’u, Ha’apai, and here in Tongatapu to observe the poll, count and declaration of results. We have collaborated and worked closely with the observers from the Pacific Islands Forum, who were present in Tongatapu and ‘Eua.

I was privileged to observe the process where the Nobles of the Realm elected their nine representatives to Parliament. This is a unique constitutional arrangement in the Kingdom and a process outlined in Tonga’s electoral laws.

This is the Group’s Interim Statement, providing an outline of our key observations and findings.

Key Interim Findings

General summary

The Commonwealth Charter “recognises the inalienable right of individuals to participate in democratic processes, in particular through free and fair elections in shaping the society in which they live.” We congratulate the Kingdom of Tonga for turning out in numbers to exercise their democratic right. The election was conducted in a peaceful environment and the voters demonstrated a good understanding and trust in the process. We found the election was conducted in accordance with Tonga’s national laws and the results reflected the wishes of the people.

The Group noted that this was the third election held under the amended Constitution 2010, as part of Tonga’s democratic reforms. We further noted that this election was conducted a year earlier than anticipated, following His Majesty, King Tupou VI’s decision to invoke Clause 38 of the Constitution to dissolve Parliament on 25 August 2017.

We encourage the incoming Government, the members of Parliament and all stakeholders to continue working together to strengthen the Kingdom’s democratic processes and engage in dialogue to clarify constitutional issues that would deepen the Kingdom’s democracy and promote the rule of law.

Preparations and election campaign

The Group acknowledged and commended the work of the Electoral Commission in preparing the country’s election with short notice following His Majesty’s decision.

The Group observed campaigning in Tongatapu ahead of the 16 November election. Many candidates chose to promote their campaigns through the use of posters and with campaign ‘floats’- large convoys of candidates’ supporters – which added a spirited and unique flair to the environment.

The Group commended the media for the positive role it played in creating awareness about election issues and the campaign. While some interlocutors raised access to the media as a potential issue, it appeared that campaigning was lively and competitive, and candidates were generally able to convey their campaign messages to the public.

We welcomed a large number of women candidates that contested the election. We convey our sincere congratulations to the two female candidates who won their seats in Tongatapu and Vava’u, marking the first time two women will be represented in the Legislative Assembly concurrently. We encourage the women in Tonga to continue to participate in elections and pursue greater representation in the National Parliament.

Polling

The Group was impressed with the high level of professionalism, integrity and efficiency displayed by polling officials, many of whom were women, during the election. These officials appeared well trained and ensured the polling process was well organised and that voters were able to cast their votes in an orderly manner.

Voters appeared to have a solid understanding of polling procedures and exercised their franchise in a calm and positive atmosphere. The Group was pleased to see a high turn-out of women voters at the election, as well as elderly and disabled voters who were assisted by the polling officials where necessary to ensure they were able to cast their votes.

We commended the support provided by the police, fire and correctional service personnel to the polling teams in all the constituencies we observed. Their presence contributed to the peaceful environment that enabled the people to exercise fully their democratic rights in the country’s political process. The Group also welcomed the role that Town Officers and other local community leaders played in supporting polling teams in their task.

The Group recognised that none of the candidates had agents or scrutineers during the poll and count. This is a testament to the trust and confidence the people of Tonga have in their electoral process.

Count and declaration of results

The Group found the count to be efficient and methodical. Consideration could be given to make the count more transparent by allowing the voters to observe the process.

The result in each polling station was made public immediately after the completion of the count. Ballot boxes were then returned to the district offices and a final result was announced later in the evening by the Electoral Commission.

Conclusion

We will finalise our report over the next two days and this will include the Group’s conclusion and set of recommendations for consideration to strengthen the country’s electoral process.

Our report will be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary- General who will, in turn, submit it to the Government of Tonga, the Electoral Commission, Speaker of Parliament and other key stakeholders in the country.

The Commonwealth’s long-standing commitment to Tonga’s democracy and development will continue. The Kingdom’s constitution has unique features which recognises its social, cultural and political structures. I encourage all citizens and the elected leaders from this election to continue working together in strengthening the Kingdom’s democracy.

We note the process of forming the Government will commence shortly following the full declaration of results. We congratulate the Kingdom of Tonga on a successful election and convey our sincerest appreciation and best wishes to His Majesty King Tupou VI, the Nobles of the Realm, the incoming Government and the people. It has been a privilege to lead this Group of Commonwealth observers to the Kingdom’s national parliamentary election.

Nuku’alofa

18 November 2017

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland will deploy a Commonwealth Observer Group to observe general elections in Tonga, scheduled for 16 November 2017. This follows a formal invitation from the Government of Tonga.

In August 2017, King Tupou VI invoked Clause 38 of the Constitution to dissolve Tonga’s Legislative Assembly, and called for fresh elections to be held in November, more than a year before the planned date for the next elections.

“These elections are crucial for the people of Tonga as it strengthens the democratic process in the Kingdom,” said Secretary-General Scotland. “The Commonwealth observers will observe the elections and work closely with the observers from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in supporting Tonga’s democracy, national election and sharing best practice.”

Margaret Wilson, former Speaker of Parliament and Attorney-General of New Zealand, will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group.  The group will consider the pre-electoral environment, the poll, the count and declaration of results.

As with all Commonwealth Observer Groups, it will function with impartiality and independence, and will conduct itself according to the standards set out in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

The Group will submit its final report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn share it with the Government of Tonga, the Tongan Electoral Commission, Speaker of Parliament, relevant civil society organisations and eventually with all Commonwealth governments and the public.

The Commonwealth Observer Group will be in Tonga from 9 to 20 November 2017.

Observer Group members:

Hon Margaret Wilson DNZM (Chairperson)
Former Speaker of Parliament
Former Attorney General,
Professor of Law
New Zealand

Mr Mohammed Saneem
Supervisor of Elections
Fiji

Mr Joseph Cain
Electoral Commissioner
Nauru

Ms Lomcebo Dlamini
Human Rights Lawyer
Swaziland

The Commonwealth Observer Group is supported by three-person Commonwealth Secretariat staff team led by Mr Albert Mariner.

Media contacts

Tonga
L. Albert Mariner
Head of Asia, Caribbean, Pacific Section,
Political Team, GPD
Commonwealth Secretariat
Tel: +676 886 0141
Email: a.mariner@commonwealth.int

London
Barnie Choudhury
Director, Media and Public Relations
Commonwealth Secretariat
Tel:  +44 20 7747 6382
Email:  b.choudhury@commonwealth.int

Source: http://thecommonwealth.org/media/press-release/commonwealth-observe-general-elections-tonga

Statement by Supervisor of Elections
Mr Mohammed Saneem
01st November 2017
Political Campaigning Framework

Bula Vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank for your attendance.

As you are aware, the Writ for the 2018 General Election may be issued any time after 6 April 2018. Effectively, we may be 6 months away from the issue of Writ for the next General Election.

As such, as is obvious, we are now witnessing increased political campaign activities around the country. We are witnessing increased mobilization of political figures as well as seminars and related events by political parties and their nominees.

Political campaign messages and promises are also becoming prominent in the media, both official media as well as social media. It is expected that Political Parties, their nominees and workers will intensify their messaging in the coming months to garner support from the voters. Care must be taken particularly on social media to avoid vilification of religion or invasion of private space of individuals.

It has therefore become important for the Fijian Elections Office to remind the Political Parties, nominees of Political Parties, their workers as well as

prospective candidates to adhere to the Electoral Act, the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding & Disclosures) Act and the Code of Conduct.

We cannot emphasize enough that the most important stakeholder in an election is the voter and the election management body will at all times operate to protect the voter from unethical and unfair campaign practices. Voters must be allowed to exercise their rights to choose their preferred candidate and vote for them without any form of threat, intimidation or inducement.

It is common knowledge that campaigns can unscrupulously target potential groups of voters which may have negative effects on others. It is essential that information and language used in campaigns upholds the dignity of individuals. We would also add that campaigners must ensure that voters are not misled with incorrect information.

One of the fundamental tenets of ‘free and fair elections’ is ethical campaigns.

The Fijian Elections Office will refer any reports of malpractice in campaigns to FICAC for investigation. We may do so following the receipt of a report or we may do so in exercise of our own discretion as per s18 of the Electoral Act.

It is important to highlight certain legal requirements, responsibilities and restrictions when it comes to campaign as well.

The FEO has opened new complaints platform for voters to report any suspicious behavior resulting from campaigns directly through email – complaints@feo.org.fj or they can contact us on mobile 8912685. Letters addressed to the Supervisor of Elections can be hand delivered to any FEO office or posted to P.O.Box 2528, Government Buildings, Suva.

Lastly, ladies and gentlemen, as we progress into a more intensified campaign period, we urge all electoral stakeholders to exercise their rights and freedoms responsibly. We urge every voter to be conscious of their individual right to choose their own candidate and this right should not be compromised by any other individual. We are available to receive reports and action through law enforcement necessary remedies in the event any voter may feel their rights are being compromised.

Electoral Act

Campaign rules

116.—(1) Any political party, any candidate for election to Parliament and any person representing, or acting under the direction of, any political party or any candidate must—

(a)respect the rights and freedoms of all other political parties and candidates to campaign, and to disseminate their political ideas and principles without fear; and

(b)conduct itself in a manner that respects the rights of other political parties and candidates, and respects the rights of voters.

(3) Any political party, any candidate for election to Parliament and any person representing, or acting under the direction of, any political party or any candidate must not—

(c) use any language or publish or distribute pamphlets, newsletters or posters or make any broadcast containing language or material that amounts to racial or religious vilification or that threatens or incites violence;

(5) Any person who contravenes subsections (3) or (4) commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or to both.

Prohibition on vote buying

114.—(1) It shall be unlawful for political parties, candidates and their representatives, either personally or through other persons, to give or offer to any citizen money, gifts, material goods of any value (except for campaign material) or services free of charge, to sell goods or services to persons at a preferential price, or to promise to provide any monetary fund, gift, material goods or services of any value for the purpose of gaining or influencing votes in an election.

(2) Any person who contravenes this section commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or to both.

It is also necessary that we highlight the legal framework around funding and particularly on sources of funds for the purposes of campaign:

Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding & Disclosures) Act Sources of funds for a political party and independent candidate

21.—(1) The sources of funds for a political party shall only be from—

(a)membership fees;

(b)voluntary contributions, donations, bequests and grants from a lawful source, not being from a foreign government, inter-governmental or non-governmental organisation; and

(c)the proceeds of any investment, project or undertaking in which the political party has an interest.

(2) The sources of funds for an independent candidate shall only be from—

(a)voluntary contributions, donations, bequests and grants from a lawful source, not being from a foreign government, inter-governmental or non-governmental organisation; and

(b)the proceeds of any investment, project, or undertaking in which the independent candidate has an interest.

Political Parties and prospective Independent Candidates need to be mindful of the limitations in funding under s22 of the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding & Disclosures) Act,

22.—(1) A political party or a candidate for election to Parliament (or any person on behalf of the political party who is involved in the administration of the affairs of the political party including any office holder of the political party, or any person on behalf of the candidate) who receives any political donation from a foreign government, inter-governmental or non- governmental organisation, or multilateral agency, commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or to both.

(2)Subject to subsection (6), any person who is a Fijian citizen or a former Fijian citizen shall not make any political donation to a political party or to a candidate for election to Parliament (or to any person on behalf of the political party who is involved in the administration of the affairs of the political party including any office holder of the political party, or to any person on behalf of the candidate) of an amount exceeding $10,000 in any one year (whether to one or more registered political parties or candidates).

(3)Any person who is not a Fijian citizen or a former Fijian citizen, shall not make a political donation to any political party or candidate for election to Parliament.

(4)A person who contravenes subsections (2) or (3) commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or to both.

(5)A political party or a candidate for election to Parliament (or any person on behalf of the political party who is involved in the administration of the affairs of the political party including any office holder of the political party, or any person on behalf of the candidate) who receives a political donation from any person who is not a Fijian citizen or former Fijian citizen, or receives a political donation exceeding $10,000 from a Fijian citizen or a former Fijian citizen, commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or to both, and in addition to the penalty imposed by this Decree, forfeit that amount to the State.

(6)Subsection (2) shall not apply to any political donation made by any founding member of the political party as political donation to the initial assets of the party within the first year of its existence.

(7)It shall be unlawful for any—

(a)political party;

(b)office holder of a political party;

(c)candidate for election to Parliament; or

(d)agent, campaigner or servant of a political party or candidate for election to Parliament,

to accept any political donation unless the political donation is from an individual.

(8) It shall be unlawful for any—

(a)political party;

(b)office holder of a political party;

(c)candidate for election to Parliament; or

(d)agent, campaigner or servant of a political party or candidate for election to Parliament, to accept any political donation from a company, a body corporate or any other entity.

(9) It shall be unlawful for any company, body corporate or any other entity to make any political donation to any—

(a)political party;

(b)office holder of a political party;

(c)candidate for election to Parliament; or

(d)agent, campaigner or servant of a political party or candidate for election to Parliament.

(10) It shall be unlawful for any company, body corporate or any other entity to make any payment or contribution to any individual for the purpose of that individual making a political donation to any—

(a)political party;

(b)office holder of a political party;

(c)candidate for election to Parliament; or

(d)agent, campaigner or servant of a political party or candidate for election to Parliament.

(11) It shall be unlawful for a company, a body corporate or any other entity to provide, and for any political party or candidate for election to Parliament (or any person on behalf of the political party who is involved in the administration of the affairs of the political party including any office holder of the political party, or any person on behalf of the candidate) to accept from a company, a body corporate or any other entity, any of the following—

(a) The full or part payment of expenditure for advertising by a political party or a candidate for election to Parliament; or

(b)the waiving of all or any part of payment of expenditure for advertising by a political party or candidate for election to Parliament.

(12)For the purposes of this section, “political donation” means a donation of money or goods and services, loan, credit facility, bond, share, negotiable security or property that is made at no charge, to a registered political party or to a candidate (or any person on behalf of the political party who is involved in the administration of the affairs of the political party including any office holder of the political party, or any person on behalf of the candidate), but does not include the labour of any person that is provided to a registered political party or to a candidate at no charge by that person.

(13)Any person who contravenes subsections (7), (8), (9), (10) and (11) commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or to both.”

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR POLITICAL PARTIES

1.Every political party shall strictly observe and comply with this code of conduct.

2.This code of conduct shall regulate the behaviour of members and office holders of political parties, aspiring candidates, candidates and their supporters, promote good

governance and eradicate political malpractices. 3. Every political party shall—

(a)respond to the interests, the concerns and the needs of the citizens of Fiji;

(b)respect and uphold the democratic process as they compete for political power so as to implement their policies;

(c)promote consensus building in policy decision making on issues of national importance;

(d)promote national patriotism and national unity; and

(e)respect, uphold and promote democratic values and principles, performing inclusive participation of political party members and accountable representation in governance.

4. Every political party shall—

(a)respect the right of all persons to participate in the political process;

(b)respect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law; and

(c)respect, uphold and promote human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and non- discrimination.

5. Every political party shall—

(a)respect and uphold this Decree and any other written law relating to elections and political parties;

(b)respect and uphold their respective political party constitutions, political party election rules, political party nomination rules and any other political party rules and regulations developed and agreed upon in accordance with this code of conduct;

(c)respect, uphold and promote good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability;

(d)respect, uphold and promote democratic practices through regular, free, fair and credible elections within the political party and include having democratically elected office holders and political party organs; and

(e)perform transparency and accountability in all party policies, rules, structures, procedures and performance.

6. A political party shall not—

(a)engage in or encourage violence by its members or supporters;

(b)engage in influence peddling, bribery or any other form of corruption;

(c)accept or use illicit or illegal money;

(d)accept or use public resources other than those allocated to the political party; and

(e)advocate hatred that constitutes ethnic or religious incitement or vilification of others or any other communal antagonism.

15 September, 2017                                    

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] is two weeks away from beginning the registration of voters overseas.

Plans have already been put in place and the process of finalizing a lot of the venues is underway with the help of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The FEO would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its assistance in the coordination of logistics and other facilitation in their host countries.

The requirements for registration is a valid Fiji Passport and the person has to be over the age of 18 years.

We have had requests for persons who now hold Certificates of Citizenship as to whether they are entitled to register.

Having considered the validity of a Certificate of Citizenship, the FEO has now decided that it will accept Certificates of Citizenship for registration purposes.

To this effect, if a person now carries a Certificate of Citizenship, they are able to produce the same to our registration clerks provided they are over the age of 18 years and obtain a voter card.

The schedule for Overseas Voter Registration is as follows:

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

The Supervisor of Elections has been elected to the Executive Board of Association of World Election Bodies representing the Oceania Region on behalf of the Fijian Elections Office. This is the first time an Oceania seat has been included in the AWEB executive board.

AWEB is made up of 106 election Management Bodies from around the world. It also has 18 international partner agencies.

The Supervisor of Elections is currently in Romania attending the 3rd General Assembly for AWEB.

‘I am grateful to my colleagues in the Pacific for their trust and confidence in Fiji to be able to carry out this new responsibility and I look forward to the challenge” Mr. Saneem said.

Since its establishment in 2014, the Fijian Elections Office is now represented at the board level in Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand electoral network, Commonwealth Electoral Network as well as now the Association of World Election Bodies.

-Ends-

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] is encouraging Fijians to apply for positions as Election Officials for the 2018 General Election, while there is still time.

“We’ve had a positive turn out from all our recruitment centres around the country, but we know there are still many Fijians who are keen to join the FEO, but have not applied,” says Stakeholder Awareness Coordinator, Mr Edwin Nand.

“The message to all interested Fijians is simple, don’t wait until the last minute because we expect a huge influx of applicants at our various centres. It would be wise to come in earlier rather than later,” Mr Nand says.

“At this stage, the Fijian Elections Office is assessing the nationwide exercise to determine where we need to re-focus our efforts – we may decide to conduct targeted recruitment in locations which have higher human resource needs in order to deliver the 2018 General Election.”

The Computer Based Test has also worked well with the FEO’s helpful Recruitment Assistants able to guide applicants through the electronic application process.

For those persons who have applied, we would like to remind you that our recruitment team will contact successful applicants for training, and it is not necessary to seek clarifications repeatedly.

“Next week, we will be open in the Central, Western and Northern Division. For Nadi, Lautoka and Nasinu, we’ve also incorporated the assistance of our media partners, and will be doing live outdoor broadcasts for the next two days to ensure that Fijians are well informed about the recruitment drive,” Mr Nand said.

Our schedules have been designed to meet the needs of Fijians who may not be able to come in and apply between normal working hours.

Details of our opening hours are on the FEO website www.fijielects2018.org.fj/eofficials as well as our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Fijianelectionsoffice/.

Vinaka.

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Click here to download the pdf

Statement by Electoral Commission Chair Mr Suresh Chandra

3rd August 2017

2:00pm

Bula Vinaka ladies and gentlemen and thank you for accepting our invitation to join us as we expand the presence of the Fijian Elections Office around the country. The opening of the Nausori branch of the FEO is a significant milestone as we approach the 2018 General Election.

Ladies and gentlemen, this time around the Fijian Elections Office has divided the country into administration areas to allow for more effective management of logistics surrounding elections as well as all the other processes which are involved.

The Nausori branch of the Fijian Elections Office will be looking after the entire Eastern Division as well as areas such as Tavua and Rakiraki.

The Divisional Coordinator for Nausori is Mr. Atish Chand and he will be looking after a total of 411 polling venues which will be somewhere around 900 polling stations.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Eastern office will also be covering Rotuma and since we have the airport just next door, it will be easy for Atish to liaise with the Rotuma base which is available through the airlines.

I’m also excited to reveal that the pre-poll times for next General Election will soon be calculated and released by the Fijian Elections Office. It is our highest endeavor that we will try and ensure that the pre-poll schedules are known amongst all the areas affected well in advance so that they can make adequate preparations.

This afternoon, we will be witnessing the opening of the Voter Services Centre in Nausori as well and the Voter Services Coordinator for the country Mr. Aisake Saukawa is also present here today. The Voter Services Centre will be providing the usual services to all Fijians and since we are based next to the Land Transport.

Authority and other necessary government services such as the Births, Deaths and Marriage Office, I believe that the positioning of our Voter Services Centre is ideal and will be handy to all Fijians who are affected in this area.

Let me also clarify ladies and gentlemen, that it is not only people from the Eastern Division who can access these services but Fijians from anywhere in the country – if they are in this area and they want to access voter services, they can go to this office.

The Electoral Commission has noted that preparations for the 2018 General Elections are on track and with the opening of this office, we will be looking forward to the opening of offices in Labasa and Nadi in due course.

I’d like to thank the Supervisor of Elections and his team for working very hard to ensure that the timelines are met and that the offices are opened on time.

I’m informed, and we will soon find out that the office has been developed to provide a professional and welcoming environment to all our customers as we aspire to provide the best customer service in every election process that we conduct.

I’m hoping that the Nausori office is as customer condusive and friendly so that Fijians enjoy the best office that is on offer.

Ladies and gentlemen before I conclude, I would like to say that the Electoral Commission has selected a theme from March 2017 to March 2018 and that is Raising the standards in the Delivery of Elections in Fiji. I am confident that the office we will be unveiling today will live up to the theme overall.

Thank you very much for coming and I wish you the very best in the services that you will receive from this office.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Click here to download the pdf

24th July, 2017

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                                              For Immediate Release

The Fijian Elections Office has so far received a significant number of enquiries in relation to our 2018 General Election – Election Officials Recruitment Drive.

With this impressive amount of interest, the Fijian Elections Office would like to today emphasize that we will be running the entire recruitment drive in various recruitment centres for a whole month.

Therefore, it is necessary that we clarify that not everybody has to rush in on the first day. Whilst we have made this clear today, we still acknowledge that there may be a lot of interest to come and apply on the very first day.

“The Recruitment Drive for Election Officials will run for a whole month and therefore there is no reason for anyone to rush in all at once,” says Fijian Elections Office Stakeholder Awareness Coordinator Edwin Nand.

“To facilitate a smooth operation on the first day, we have developed a registration system for time slots on the first day to allow anyone who is interested, to book a time slot and come in and attend the recruitment session on 28th July 2017.”

We would like to clarify that the 28th is the only day in July on which this recruitment will take place, the rest of the drive will be from the 1st of August until the times as stated in the advertisements.

“Once again we would like to remind all Fijians that it is NOT necessary that everybody comes on the first day, but to ensure that the process and transition are smooth, we will only be allowing those who have registered online for a time slot to come and apply.”

Please go to registration.feo.org.fj and book a time slot as per your convenience to come in and apply on 28th of July in Suva.

We will only be issuing 700 bookings for this day and therefore anyone who is unable to get an appointment can come in and apply at a later date.

Please note that after July 28th, appointments and bookings will not be required.

This also allows Fijians time to get their details in order and ensure they have their FNPF Card number, their Joint ID Card, their bank details and their VoterCard.

 

-Ends-

Please find a video link for the statement: https://www.facebook.com/FijiVotes2018/videos/1729517654015149/

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Click here to download the pdf

11th July, 2017

Following the conclusion of the 2017 Nationwide Voter Registration Drive, the Fijian Elections Office will temporarily suspend voter services from 12 to the 24 July 2017 to carry out an adjudication and data cleaning process.

In explaining the reasons behind this temporary exercise, Mr. Mohammed Saneem, Supervisor of Elections explains “In the past 7 weeks, we received 240,152 voters at our booths and this is a large amount of data that now needs to be entered into the database and all our registration kits updated with the most latest registration information.”

“We will also carry out data matching and cleaning process to identify attempts at duplicate

registrations and remove deceased voters from the Voters Register.”

For the next 12 days, the FEO will suspend the registration of new voters, updating of voter details, replacement of VoterCards and requests for change of polling venues.

“Since we have just concluded the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive, any voter who desperately needed such services was expected to have already taken advantage of the many opportunities made available to access those services.”

The statistics for total engagement are as follows:

Central Division – 69,439

Western Division – 102,694

Northern Division – 49,082

Eastern Division – 18, 937

It is an international best practice that the voter register is regularly updated by an election management body and the FEO has continued the consistent registration and updating exercise of Fiji’s National Register of Voters. The recent approval of the objections and appeals process by the Electoral Commission has enhanced ownership of the Register and at the same time strengthened the integrity of the Voters Register.

Vinaka

-Ends

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team: communications@feo.org.fj

Click here to download the pdf

07 July, 2017

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] is calling on Fijians who intend to apply for positions as Election Officials for the 2018 General Election to ensure they are registered voters and that their details are accurate. To date we have assisted 200,475 voters as part of the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive. The FEO has registered 13,198 new voters, we have corrected the details of 29,388 voters and replaced 61,028 VoterCards. While these are high numbers, we are mindful that there are still many Fijians who have not accessed our services. It’s important to remember that one of the key requirements for applicants is to be a registered voter, and with the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive coming to an end tomorrow – now is the time. Fijians need to use the remaining time to access services, update their information in the National Register of Voters and obtain their VoterCard 2.0. When the Recruitment Drive begins on 28th July, 2017, applicants will have to present their VoterCard at the recruitment centre in order to proceed with their application. Anyone who is not a registered voter will not be considered for a position and the applicant won’t be able to proceed with the recruitment. The Fijian Elections Office has already announced the requirements for those who want to apply as Election Officials. We want to avoid a situation where applicants turn up at the recruitment centres and have to be turned away even before they get a chance to apply. We would like every Fijian to have an opportunity to work in the 2018 General Election – but YOU NEED TO REGISTER. This information is important because it will be used to assign polling venues to Election Officials. If we don’t have your correct residential address, you could be posted to a community where you no longer reside. Fijians still have time tomorrow to visit any of our Voter Service Centres or the Voter Registration Booths which have been set up in all four [4] divisions. Additionally, the FEO has today confirmed that there will be a registration team at the Pacific Harbour Arts Village from 9am to 3pm tomorrow so people in that area also have this same opportunity on the last day of the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive. The locations of our other teams are available on the FEO website www.feo.org.fj and on our Facebook page. It also contains the closing time for each of the locations.

Vinaka

-Ends

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team: communications@feo.org.fj

Click here to download the pdf

6/07/2017

The Unity Fiji has been registered as Fiji’s latest political party after the Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem, approved the application under that had been made on 06 June 2017.Unity Fiji Registered as Political Party.

“The applicant had successfully furnished all the particulars required under the law and hence the party has been duly registered,” he said.

The Unity Fiji becomes the 8th registered political party under the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Act 2013. The total number of registered parties in Fiji currently stands at 7.

-ENDS-

 

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team: communications@feo.org.fj

Click here to download the pdf

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has decided to extend the 2017 Nationwide Voter Registration Drive for one more week due to the positive interest shown by members of the public.

The Voter Registration Drive which is well into its sixth week, has resulted in 152,092 voters accessing Voter Services in all four [4] divisions around the country.

In these last remaining days we have seen more interest from voters than we had in previous weeks of registration.

The Registration Drive has been well received by voters and it is befitting to extend the Drive for an additional week to ensure all eligible Fijian citizens can take advantage of the services we are offering to voters. The interest shown by the public is notable and we anticipate more voters to access the Voter Services during the remaining week.

We have teams on standby to facilitate the provision of Mobile Voter Registration for business houses and persons with disabilities, who are not able to visit any of our registration booths, to make arrangements with us.

We want to also allow this opportunity to anyone who has not updated their details to do so before the Recruitment Drive for Election Officials commences. So far, the plans are that we will not have any registration teams at the recruitment centres.

The Nationwide Voter Registration Drive was to have ended on July 1, 2017 but will now end on July 8, 2017.

To find out more details about where the voter registration teams will be, please visit the FEO website www.feo.org.fj

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team: communications@feo.org.fj

Click here to download the pdf

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] will now be sending Voter Registration teams to business houses with a large number of staff in all major urban locations.

With the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive entering its final 10 days, the FEO wants to ensure that voters who haven’t been able to access services during working hours are not left out.

The FEO’s mobile registration teams will be sent to corporate offices by appointment, to ensure that Fijians who cannot visit Voter Service Centres or Registration booths have the opportunity access services at their convenience.
“We are calling on employers to exercise their corporate social responsibility and allow their employees to register or update their voter information during this national exercise,” says Supervisor of Elections Mr Mohammed Saneem.

The FEO has mobile registration teams in all four Divisions which can be deployed to business houses or corporate offices at a time convenient to the employer and employees.

Business houses can contact Operations Coordinator Ms Litia Sema on 9002290 or litia.sema@feo.org.fj to make arrangements for the FEO mobile registration team to visit their premises.

Fijians who will be registering for the first time will need to have a valid Fiji passport; or a birth certificate and with a valid photo ID including:

  • Drivers license
  • FNPF/FRCA joint ID card
  • Student ID card
  • Social welfare Card

The Nationwide Voter Registration Drive ends on 01 July 2017.

 -Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Click here to download the pdf

The Electoral Commission has printed out copies of the National Register of Voters as at 19 April 2017 for Registered political parties.

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mr Suresh Chandra presented the National Register of Voters to representatives from the Fiji United Freedom Party, FijiFirst Party, Fiji Labour Party, National Federation Party and Social Democratic Liberal Party this morning.

“We have given five [5] Registered Political Parties a copy of the complete set of the National Register of Voters free of charge in order to help them prepare accordingly for the 2018 General Election,” said Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Suresh Chandra.

The Electoral Commission today also approved the rules governing objections and appeals to registration on the National Register of Voters.

Section 155(b) of the Electoral Act 2014 specifies that the Electoral Commission may makes Rules relating to voter registration and maintenance of the Register of Voters.

Currently there are no provisions where a person can lodge a complaint against a registration. The rules will create this process and allow for natural justice principles to be exercised during the adjudication process.

An appeals process has also been established to allow the Electoral Commission to finalize the verification of a voter.

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] will print forms for the Objection and Appeals which will be widely circulated and uploaded to the FEO website. The FEO will also maintain a register of Objections and Appeals to allow for proper record keeping.

The National Register of voters contains the details of 605,997 Fijians eligible to vote next year.

All copies of the National Register of Voters were printed in-house by the FEO.

“We decided to print the copies ourselves in order to save costs in what is an annual exercise. This allows us to absorb costs which would otherwise have been spent on paying for copies of the National Register of Voters,” says Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party did not attend and a copy of the National Register of Voters will be delivered to them.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Click here to download the word

Click here to download the pdf

35,433 voters have taken advantage in the nine [9] days that the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has been conducting the 2017 Nationwide Registration Drive.

As at Wednesday 31 May, 2017 the FEO has registered 3,113 new voters. The statistics are as follows:

  1. New Registration – 3,113
  2. Corrections – 4,140
  3. Replacements – 11,107
  4. National Register of Voters Updated – 3,799
  5. National Register of Voters Confirmed – 10,784

Total Engagement with Voters – 35,433

Teams in all four [4] divisions have engaged 35,433 voters as of 31 May and will continue to offer voter services during the 2017 Nationwide Registration Drive until 1 July, 2017.

To find out more details about where the voter registration teams will be, please visit the FEO website www.feo.org.fj.

-Ends-

 

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team: communications@feo.org.fj

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has started conducting interactive Awareness Sessions for Trade Unions and respective employers on Trade Union Elections and electoral best practices across Fiji from 29th May to 2nd June 2017.

Awareness sessions as such are vital as it provides union members, executives, employers and employees a better understanding of the guidelines and processes of elections.

The Guidelines for Trade Union Election, which was released in 2014, aims to create a fair, transparent and credible electoral process whilst preserving the autonomous nature of trade unions.

Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem said the FEO has been organizing Trade Union Elections for the past two and a half years and managed to identify gaps in the electoral process which would need to be highlighted and resolved.

Since last year, the FEO also invites employers of respective Trade Union members to the awareness sessions.

“The idea is to ensure that all stakeholders are fully aware of the requirements and the processes in Trade Union elections and employing agencies are one of the key stakeholders,” he said.

“Also, Trade unions are advised to frequently send alerts and update their members on trade union election timelines to enhance voter participation during the electoral process.”

The FEO has this time, also opened the forum for attendance by general members of Trade Unions who may wish to learn about the electoral process that the FEO implements.

The FEO has identified some key issues it hopes to address in the interactive awareness sessions:

  1. Poor turnout from Trade Unions and Employers,
  2. The importance of the strict election timelines which has to be adhered to in any electoral process;
  3. The unions to create awareness on the electoral processes in place to its members to enhance voter participation;
  4. The importance of updating of the union’s membership listings by the unions before submitting it to the FEO;
  5. To maximise voter participation, the FEO believes that the best solution is postal voting as it caters for branches that are in remote areas.

“The FEO continues to advocate for improvements in the record keeping in terms of Union Membership and we are proposing that the FEO is given the responsibility to maintain this record independently.

Meanwhile, the FEO has upgraded its equipment in a bid to make the voting and counting process easier.

“The FEO has secured 50 electronic voting machines that will be used for trade union elections; and the FEO has also secured counting machines that will enable voters to vote and also automatically count the votes,” Saneem said.

To date, the FEO has organized more than 80 Trade Union elections and 120 branch level elections.

An awareness session was held in Labasa on 29th May while two were held in Suva on 30th and 31st May.

The next session is currently underway in Lautoka today (June 1) and will conclude tomorrow at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] today piloted its ‘SMS Notification Feature’ that has now been incorporated into the Voter Registration system. 2,502 voters who had either registered or updated their details between January 2017 and 20 March 2017 and had provided the FEO with their mobile numbers would have received a ‘confirmation’ sms advising them of the registration.

“We are currently testing the system so that the FEO can directly communicate with the registered individual,” remarked Mr. Mohammed Saneem, Supervisor of Elections.

“Election Management Bodies around the world continuously try to find avenues to directly engage with voters and since mobile phones are very popular in Fiji, the FEO has taken advantage of this medium,” continued Mr. Saneem. “Later on, we will trial other means of communication such as email.”

The ‘SMS Notification Feature’ will allow the FEO to confirm to voters in terms of their registration as a Voter. The system will also send an sms to a voter when the voter updates their details. Finally the system will also sms a voter to advise the voter that their VoterCard has been replaced.

In terms of security, voters will now have access to information about the activity on their Registration and in the unlikely event that unauthorized activities took place, the Voter can raise queries with the FEO.

“The FEO has created this tool as a transparency mechanism and I invite all Registered Voters to subscribe to this feature” Mr. Saneem said.

The SMS Notification feature operates on both the networks in Fiji and is a free of charge service.

-Ends-

Please forward all media queries to the FEO Communications team at communications@feo.org.fj

Caption: A screenshot of a trial SMS Notification that was sent out by the FEO today.

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem, launched the Fijian Elections Office’s [FEO] Voter Selfie Competition at the opening of the 2017 School Voter Registration Drive in Natabua High School today.

The competition is open to newly registered voters and voters who have been issued with a VoterCard 2.0 as a replacement for their old or misplaced VoterCard.

The competition will run for six (6) weeks from 22 May till 1 July, 2017, and the winners will be announced on Monday 3 July, 2017.

To enter, participants must:
1. Like the FEO Facebook Page – @Fijianelectionsoffice;
2. Take a selfie or create a velfie with the new VoterCard 2.0;
3. Post it on the FEO Facebook Page; and
4. Tag friends to the post to generate as many likes as possible.

The post with the most number of likes will win the main prize, the newly released Samsung Galaxy 8 Plus smartphone. Four [4] Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, 8 inch 32GB Tablets will also be awarded to the subsequent posts which generate the most likes.

For more details on the competition, visit the FEO’s Website: http://www.feo.org.fj/voter-selfie-competition/

-Ends-

Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Mohammed Saneem (right) and UTOF Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Vilash Chand sign the Memorandum of Agreement.

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] signed a Memorandum of Agreement [MOA] with the Unit Trust of Fiji (Management) Limited [UTOF] at the FEO Headquarters this morning in a move to promote personal investment initiative and financial security for FEO employees.

The MOA also sees employees provided with an opportunity to enter into a legal relationship for purposes of a Direct Deduction Investment Scheme with the power to manage and administer the investment.

“With UTOF being one of the major investment institutions of capital markets in Fiji, FEO employees stand to gain a lot from this MOA in as far as investment opportunities for personal wealth management are concerned,” said the Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Mohammed Saneem.

Furthermore, it is envisaged that this MOA will foster collaboration between UTOF and FEO by creating awareness on how to:

1. Improve and increase investment knowledge with regard to personal investment plans;

2. Educate FEO employees about the benefits and associated risks of this scheme by way of training and awareness programs to be conducted with UTOF.

In addition, both organisations will work together to:

1. Develop, support, implement, coordinate and facilitate training and awareness regarding the scheme by way of consultation; and

2. Continuously work on the development of future investment products and incentives relating to and for the benefit of the investors.

UTOF Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Vilash Chand, welcomed the FEO as the twenty-first organization in Fiji to join the scheme.

“The FEO joins twenty other organisations in Fiji who have signed an MOA with the Unit Trust of Fiji,” said Mr Chand.

“You as employees, can make a difference by choosing an investment account. You can then create an investment account for your child. When he or she turns eighteen, you can pass it to him or her and then by the time your child gets into the workforce and wants to start his or her life, your child has already collected a certain amount of money to do this,” said Mr. Chand.

Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Mohammed Saneem (right) and UTOF Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Vilash Chand sign the Memorandum of Agreement.

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Mohammed Saneem thanked the UTOF for their support and partnership when it comes to promoting a culture of savings and investment at the FEO.

“FEO takes at heart the welfare of its most valuable asset, its employees and continues to strive to provide a healthy and conducive environment for them. Having the UTOF on board will be an added value which will not only benefit the staff but their families as well,” he said.

Mr. Saneem added that for the successful growth of any organisation, it is vital to take a step forward to encourage a team to be financially empowered.

-ENDS-

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] and the Election Commission of India [ECI] signed a Memorandum of Understanding [MoU] today at a signing ceremony at the Hotel Taj Mahal in New Delhi, India.

Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Mohammed Saneem, signed the MoU with the Election Commissioner of India, Mr. O.P. Rawat.

Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Mohammed Saneem, signed the MoU with the ECI Election Commissioner, Mr. O.P. Rawat before various high level dignitaries from the electoral world who are attending the International Seminar on ‘Strategy for Empowering Young and Future Voters.’

“The ECI manages the national elections for well over 800 million voters which effectively makes India the world’s largest democracy and it is a privilege for the FEO to form this partnership with the Commission,” said Mr. Saneem, after the signing of the MOU. “The FEO and the ECI already share good relations and collaborations. It is only apt to expand it further through a MoU.”

 

The MoU will provide the FEO and the ECI a platform to:

  • Promote the exchange of knowledge and experiences in the field of organisational and technical development of electoral processes, with a view to developing the practice of management and administration;
  • Exchange information, materials, expertise, technical knowledge and skills relating to electoral processes and systems;
  • Strengthen Institutions and build capacity through human resource development;
  • Facilitate relationships with other electoral authorities and organisations.

“It has been only three [3] years since the FEO was formed. We are strategically forming partnerships with other more established Election Management Bodies [EMBs] so that the FEO gains access to platforms for best practices sharing, as well as stay abreast of developments in election management,” explained Mr. Saneem. “The FEO has already participated in various training programmes and seminars at the ECI and through this MOU, we will try to bring more resource personnel to Fiji.”

“Dr. Zaidi, Chief Election Commissioner, and his team are very active in enhancing the participation and education of voters, and have taken a global approach to this important function which definitely interests us at the FEO,” added Mr. Saneem.

In October 2016, the FEO participated in the first Global International Seminar on Voter Education and has been contributing to the Voter Information, Communication and Education Network [VoICE.NET], which is a common platform for EMBs globally to share best practices in voter education.

Mr. Mohammed Saneem, applauded the expertise and professionalism of the ECI in conducting the largest elections globally. He also praised the ECI for its successful ‘Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation’ [SVEEP] programme which resulted in an increase in voter participation in the 2014 General Election by over 125 million voters, as well as recording the highest ever turnout in the Indian National Election.

The Supervisor of Elections will also be speaking about the success of the FEO’s Annual National School Voter Registration Drive at the International Seminar.

ENDS

 

Notes:

  1. The International Seminar is attended by the heads of the following EMBs – Australia, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jordan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tunisia.
  1. Heads of International Organisations also in attendance are from the Association of World Election Bodies [AWEB], International Foundation for Electoral Systems [IFES], International Centre for Parliamentary Studies [ICPS], International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance [IDEA] and the Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre.
  1. The ECI signed MoUs with other EMBs including Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Nepal at the event.

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has begun rolling out activities towards the 2018 General Election, by holding its first meeting with the seven [7] registered Political Parties at its headquarters today.

The meeting provided a platform for the FEO to inform and advise the registered Political Parties of the upcoming activities and electoral calendar, as well as facilitate constructive discussions amongst those present.

In attendance were representatives from:

  1. Fiji United Freedom Party [FUFP];
  2. Fiji Labour Party [FLP];
  3. National Federation Party [NFP];
  4. FijiFirst; and
  5. Social Democratic Liberal Party [SODELPA]

With the exception of People’s Democratic Party [PDP] and One Fiji Party [OFP], whose representatives were not present.

The FEO is taking pro-active measures to keep all political parties informed and to facilitate discussions in the lead up to the 2018 General Election, as per the rec

Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem, and party representatives at the meeting.

ommendations of the Multi-Observer Group [MOG] Report following the 2014 General Election.

The MOG Report recommendation states that ‘The Fijian Elections Office should provide clear information materials in advance of the election, which includes the role of political party polling agents in the polling process.’

Additionally, the MOG Report recommendation also states that ‘More comprehensive training for party polling agents on their role and responsibilities in the electoral process should be provided by political parties or other responsible bodies.’

The registered political parties and the Supervisor of Elections have agreed to scheduled quarterly meetings throughout 2017.

-ENDS-

The Fijian Electoral Education Centre [FEEC], is organising a three [3] day BRIDGE [‘Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections’] workshop on Polling, Counting and Results for the FEO core team.

FEO-staff-undergo-training-of-best-electoral-practices.-300x200The training will be facilitated by Ms. Asenaca Kolinivala, Manager FEEC, and co-facilitated by Ms. Ana Mataiciwa, Mr. Don Kadir and Ms. Sala’oetau Yavaca.The module covers internationally accepted principles expected to be implemented during the electoral processes.

“It is very exciting to see that the FEEC has now built sufficient capacity to deliver these internationally accredited trainings,” remarked Mr. Mohammed Saneem, Supervisor of Elections.

A total of twenty one [21] FEO staff will be attending the workshop from Tuesday 13 to Thursday 15 December 2016 at Holiday Inn, Suva.

The FEEC is the education and capacity building arm of the Fijian Elections Office [FEO].

-ENDS-

Click on the link for background information on BRIDGE: http://www.bridge-project.org/en/

The FEO Director Operations, Ms Anaseini Senimoli, hands over the complete data set of almost 1500 proposed polling venues to the National Disaster Management Office [NDMO]

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] presented a complete data set of almost 1500 proposed polling venues to the National Disaster Management Office [NDMO] on Friday, 25 November 2016.The presentation of the data set took place during the Fiji Geospatial Information Management Third Annual Conference held at the Novotel, Lami.

As this year’s theme for the Conference was about ‘Mapping the Disaster’, the Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem, felt that the platform could be used to share what FEO has in terms of spatial data.

“This could assist organizations such as NDMO during natural disasters. The polling venues could be used as evacuation centres as facilities such as schools and community halls were mapped using GPS,” said Mr Saneem.

When locating polling venues, FEO looks at the various features of the locations including:

  1. Close proximity to the voters who are served by the location
  2. Accessible polling locations for people with disabilities
  3. Buildings must have an adequate-sized room or hallway sufficient to meet the needs for setting up equipment and voter check-in stations, including adequate space for voters to wait in line
  4. Adequate lighting
  5. The location must have sufficient parking available for voters’ use on Election Day
  6. Proper sanitation and hygiene

These features are also important when locating evacuation centres during natural disasters.

FEO has been exploring the use of a GPS plotting exercise since last year to determine the exact location of each polling venue.

The FEO share their GIS experiences with the rest of the participants during the Fiji Geospatial Information Management Third Annual Conference.

The FEO share their GIS experiences with the rest of the participants during the Fiji Geospatial Information Management Third Annual Conference.

The data set of points were collected using GPS by forty [40] field staff on a duration of six [6] months from December 2015 to May 2016 where they were deployed all throughout Fiji.

“Providing the correct information to the correct person at the correct location includes a lot of hard work and this is where Geographical Information System [GIS]-based mapping technology has come to FEO’s aid,” said Mr Saneem.

The GIS is used in many sectors including climate change and green growth and is an important computer based tool which helps to better understand data through visualisation.

The FEO has come a long way in terms of GIS, first starting in 2006 where a web interface was used to check polling stations along the Suva-Nausori corridor only.

It was on a very small scale in terms of displaying spatial data online.

Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism and Lands and Mineral Resources, Mr Faiyaz Koya, in his key note address during the Annual Conference, highlighted that with the data provided by FEO, there is now access to digital mapping of all the nation’s evacuation centres which can be located in an instant.

“In this regard, I want to thank the Fijian Elections Office for the data its officials are handing over where all of its polling stations in the nation’s schools are located. And these schools of course are also evacuation centres in the event of natural disaster and are critical to the well-being and safety of our people,” said Honourable Minister Koya.

He added that the data will be entered in to the national system that was launched during the Annual Conference called the VanuaGIS or Geo-Spatial Information System.

The FEO, along with other speakers, participate in a discussion session during the Fiji Geospatial Information Management Third Annual Conference.

The FEO, along with other speakers, participate in a discussion session during the Fiji Geospatial Information Management Third Annual Conference.

The VanuaGIS web portal is a platform for the sharing of data sets or information from different organisations visually allowing for a more effective and efficient approach to work better as a team.

“The VanuaGIS is the first of its kind in Fiji, integrating data sets from different organisations such as the Fijian Elections Office and bringing it all together in one place; one platform. It is a tool that is long overdue because data sharing has been one of the biggest challenges in Fiji and never before has it been so important for us to be able to gather information and use it quickly and effectively,” said Honourable Minister Koya.

The Annual Conference provides a platform for stakeholders including the Ministry of Land and Mineral Resources, FEO, NDMO, Ministry of Infrastructure, Fiji Electricity Authority, iTaukei Land Trust Board, Ministry of Agriculture, Sugar Industry Tribunal, Pacific Community [SPC], Water Authority of Fiji and PASCO to discuss, collaborate and assist in promoting the growth of GIS.

FEO became a member of the Fiji Geospatial Information Management Council in May 2015 after providing an expression of interest endorsed by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources.

“The FEO will benefit a lot from the implementation of a spatial information management programme in order to better prepare for and manage national elections,” said Mr Saneem.

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] appreciates the Fiji National University’s [FNU] recognition for conducting a successful election for the FNU Students Association [FNUSA] held last month.

FNU Chancellor, Mr Iqbal Jannif, presents the token of appreciation to FEO’s Returning Officer for the FNUSA Election, Mr Mesake Dawai.

The FNU Acting Vice Chancellor, Dr Eci Nabalarua, said the University carried out this election in partnership with FEO to conduct a transparent poll to elect the inaugural FNU student body.The token of appreciation was presented to the FEO’s Returning Officer, Mr Mesake Dawai, during the FNUSA Inauguration at the Novotel Convention Centre in Lami on Saturday, 26 November 2016.

“The Fiji National University acknowledges the contribution of the Fijian Elections Office in facilitating the campus election and is grateful for a smooth and transparent election process,” said Dr Nabalarua.

The FNUSA election marked the formalization of months of preparatory work by the student steering committee and laying the foundation for the formation of the first ever Student Union within the University.

FEO’s Returning Officer for the FNUSA Election, Mr Mesake Dawai, with the token of appreciation from FNU.

Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem, commends Mr Dawai for his efficiency in handling the FNUSA Election.

Mr Saneem would also like to convey his appreciation to the FNU and the FNUSA for inviting FEO to conduct elections for the various positions.

“The FEO is a strong advocate in the electoral development of young Fijians with youths being one of our most important stakeholders. The FNUSA Election provided us with an opportunity to promote understanding and participation of the best electoral practices amongst our young leaders,” said Mr Saneem.

The Electoral Security Advisory Group [ESAG] – Fijian Elections Office [FEO], Fiji Police Force and Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption [FICAC] – signed a Terms of Reference [TOR] at the FEO Headquarters this afternoon.

ESAG21-300x200
The ESAG emerged after the Electoral Risk Management Workshop, which was conducted by International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance [IDEA] in April this year.

The workshop was attended by Fiji Police Force, FICAC and FEO and they collectively agreed that a working committee be formed and be responsible in planning for electoral security for the next General Election.

After the signing of this Terms of Reference, the working group will have regular meetings to discuss and evaluate the security situation specially boosted to electoral activities only and provide necessary recommendations to FEO and the Supervisor of Elections.

“ESAG TOR will provide a common platform for security agencies and FEO operations to share information on security matters at the election,” said Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem.

This is a strategic endeavour between FEO and the security partners, Fiji Police Force and FICAC, in anticipating and pre-empting security risks, mitigating their impact or probability of occurrence.

The core responsibilities of the ESAG will be:ESAG12-300x199

  1. Review and analyse the FEO Operations Plans to identify and highlight security issues that are likely to arise;
  2. Based on the issues highlighted in (1) above, provide feedback and recommendations to resolve the security issues;
  3. Utilize the FEO Operations Plans to make necessary arrangements to properly discharge their respective duties under the Electoral Decree;
  4. Make use of the most latest technology and methodology to ensure efficient and secure conduct of elections; and
  5. Establish an appropriate communication mechanism between all the organizations during the election period.

The FEO will provide the necessary facilities for the proper functioning of the ESAG. FEO will also provide equipment and secretariat services to the ESAG.

It is expected for ESAG to meet as necessary during key periods of operations. ESAG operations team may meet on a monthly basis and even at more regular intervals closer to elections. The group may also create ad-hoc working committees on specific topics to ensure proper delivery of this TOR.

ESAG aims to provide all organisations a common platform for information exchange whilst fully maintaining their utmost independence.

To strengthen collaboration with other electoral management bodies and international organizations, the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] is part of the U.S Election Program [USEP] and Seventh Global Elections Organizations [GEO-7] to observe and learn about the U.S. electoral system.

FEO’s Manager Fijian Electoral Education [FEEC], Asenaca Kolinivala, is part of the 2016 USEP and GEO-7, which is the largest international gathering of election professional of the year with representatives from 90 countries. The combined event is scheduled to take place this month from Sunday 6 to Thursday 10 November.

“It is a privilege for the FEO to be invited to this historic event whereby voters in the United States cast ballots in the 58 quadrennial U.S. presidential election and we offer our thanks to the US Department of State for funding this important capacity building  trip,” said Mr. Mohammed Saneem, Supervisor of Elections.

On Election Day, Ms Kolinivala will be deployed to polling sites throughout Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia to witness the American voting process. While on election night, attend a reception honoring Chafik Sarsar, president of Tunisia’s Independent High Authority for Elections with the 2016 Joe C. Baxter Award, and to be part of an election watch party with live televised coverage of elections results.

The program will further strengthen FEO’s technical expertise on election technology, voter identification, public opinion, social media, campaign finance, the role of media in elections, accessibility for persons with disabilities and strategies for boosting women’s participation in politics.

The GEO-7 conference, which is a leading international forum for elections professionals to network and share democratic best practices will build technical discussions of interest  and focus on the use of data and technology to improve transparency and accountability.

GEO partners include the Association of European Election Officials, IFES, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, Mexico’s National Electoral Institute, the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division and the United Nations Development Programme.

The event is hosted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems [IFES], which brings together election officials, parliamentarians and diplomats from around the world to observe and learn about the U.S. electoral system as well as discuss elections and voting from comparative international perspectives.

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] voter registration team is currently in Southern Lau to replace damaged or lost Electronic Voter Registration [EVR] cards, verification of deceased voters, register new and eligible voters and enable registered voters to change their details from 9 to 25 November 2016.

Voters who have lost or damaged their EVR card can get a replacement card free of charge by filling in the forms provided at the locations.

Voters are required to bring in the following documentations for the following services:

  • For change of personal details or residential address – For change of name then a Birth Certificate is required but a change of residential address only requires filling out the form.
  • For New Registration – Birth Certificate and a valid photo ID.

Those who have already registered do not need to register again for the next general election.

Southern Lau ERV schedule are as follows:

Day Venue
Thursday 10 November 2016 Ono I Lau – Health Centres
Friday 11 November 2016 Vatoa- Health Centres
Saturday 12 November 2016 Ogea- Health Centres
Tuesday 15 November 2016 Fulaga- Health Centres
Thursday 17 November 2016 Kabara- Health Centres
Friday 18 November 2016 Namuka I Lau- Health Centres
Saturday 19 November 2016 Komo- Health Centres
Monday 21 November 2016 Moce- Health Centres
Tuesday 22 November 2016 Oneata- Health Centres
Wednesday 23 November 2016 Nayau- Health Centres
Thursday 24 November 2016 Vanuavatu- Health Centres

–ENDS –

Promoting valuable knowledge about elections, a three day workshop on an internationally recognised electoral programme ‘Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections’ [BRIDGE] will be conducted from 9 – 11 this month at the Southern Cross Conference Room.

Workshop participants for the BRIDGE Module titled ‘Introduction to Electoral Administration’ will include all registered Political Parties and interested individuals selected from an Expression of Interest process.

Organised by the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] education and capacity building arm, Fijian Electoral Education Centre [FEEC], the workshop reflects on the need for political party agent training for the 2018 General Election as highlighted by the Multinational Observer Group [MOG].

The MOG Report states that ‘more comprehensive training for party polling agents on their role and responsibilities in the electoral process should be provided by political parties or other responsible bodies’.

In line with this reflection, FEO has conducted seven [7] BRIDGE training workshops since 2015 following FEO’s Strategic Plan Goal 8 which is to enhance knowledge and skills of the FEO staff and stakeholders through training and capacity building.

The lead facilitator for the workshop is Mr Brian Latham who comes with a broad experience in BRIDGE. In the BRIDGE field for the past thirteen [13] years, Mr Latham has worked as a lead/accrediting facilitator, facilitator and participant in various BRIDGE workshops globally including Civic Education Module Workshop – Leadership Post-Conflict in Nepal, Voter Education and Gender and Election Modules in Australia, Train-the-Facilitator in Fiji and Indonesia amongst numerous other workshops.

Ms Hamidan Bibi – Co Facilitator BRIDGE Workshop

This will be the second workshop Mr Latham will be facilitating for Political Parties, the first being an Electoral Contestants module and Introduction to   Electoral Administration module in Bhutan in 2012.

Ms Hamidan Bibi is one of the co-facilitators who also comes with a vast experience in BRIDGE having nine [9] years of experience as the International Accredited Workshop Facilitator/Trainer for BRIDGE International Project for over 23 modules, including Training the Facilitators.

The second co-facilitator, Ms Ana Mataiciwa, Legal Compliance Coordinator at the Fijian Elections Office [FEO], is a fully accredited BRIDGE Facilitator and has experience in facilitating the ‘Introduction to Election’, ‘Election Security’ and ‘Disabilities Rights and Election Training’ Modules.

An Expression of Interest was also put out to members of the public to submit applications if they are interested in being part of the training programme.

The names to fill up the six [6] positions that were available for this training have been finalised by FEO and include Ms Daiana Tagivakatini, Legal Practitioner; Ms Tearoba Tekaireiti, Machinist at Classic Apparel; Mr Riyazud Din, a student at the Fiji National University; Mr Rajesh Kumar Tahal, Assistant Social Science Teacher at Ba Sanatan College; Ms Rigieta Lord, Assistant Lecturer for the School of Humanities and Arts at the University of Fiji; and Ms Patricia Mallam, Tourism Planning and Strategic Communications Consultant.

Ms Ana Mataiciwa – Co Facilitator BRIDGE Workshop

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem, will also be presenting to the participants on some key milestones that the FEO intends to achieve before March 2018. These milestones are part of FEO’s next election plans.

“To give effect to the Multinational Observer Group Report recommendations, FEO has opted to obtain services of a highly accredited international facilitator, Mr Brian Latham, and also a very learned set of co-facilitators in the field of elections,” said Mr Mohammed Saneem, Supervisor of Elections.

“The FEO envisages that participants at this workshop will be able to pick up on key basic knowledge in the field of election that will assist them to better prepare themselves and their parties for future elections.”

 

-Ends-

Click on the link for background information on BRIDGE: www.bridge-project.org

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] education and capacity building arm, Fijian Electoral Education Centre [FEEC], is organising an internationally recognised electoral program Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections[BRIDGE] for all registered Political Parties and interested individuals in early November this year.

“We have obtained the services of a BRIDGE Expert Trainer as well as some independent trainers to undertake this program,” explains Mr. Mohammed Saneem, Supervisor of Elections.

The BRIDGE Module titled ‘Introduction to Elections’ will provide participants with valuable knowledge about elections – the processes that are involved as well as allow participants to conduct comparisons with practices from the region.

All BRIDGE training programs are organised in line with FEO’s Strategic Plan Goal 8 which is to enhance knowledge and skills of the FEO staff and stakeholders through training and capacity building. FEO has conducted seven [7] BRIDGE training workshops since 2015.

FEO has also put out an Expression of Interest [EOI] to members of the public to submit applications, if they are interested in being part of the training program. These EOIs will fill up the six [6] positions that are available for this training.

—ENDS—

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] signed a Memorandum of Understanding [MoU] with the Central Elections Commission [CEC] of the Russian Federation yesterday [Thursday, October 13, 2016].

The Fijian Elections Office representative Director Operations Ms Anaseini Senimoli was received by the Secretary of the CEC Ms Maya Grishina and the two discussed briefly on issues relating to elections before the signing ceremony at the CECs HQ in Moscow, Russia.

L-R Fijian Elections Office Director Operations, Ms Anaseini Senimoli, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Mr Robin Nair, Secretary of the Central Elections Commission of the Russian Federation Ms Maya Grishina during the signing of the MoU.

Ms Senimoli thanked the Central Elections Commission for their continued support and assistance for newly established Election Management Bodies (EMBs) such as the FEO. She also highlighted that FEO is committed to its support of the MoU, as it establishes a platform for the two parties to strengthen its relationship and commitment in the field of elections by promoting democracy in free and fair elections through their electoral processes.

The MoU ensures that both parties actively promotes the exchange of knowledge and experience through capacity building and support on identified priority areas in the field of electoral management and administration, including exchange of information, materials, expertise and organized training of personnel.

In her closing remarks, Ms Grishina thanked FEO for their commitment towards democracy and extended an invitation for the FEO to be part of the Observers Group for the Russian Presidential election in early 2018. “This will be an opportunity for our Fijian counterparts to come and see how the CEC runs their one day election covering 85 electoral division over the country” she said.

The Central Elections Commission of the Russian Federation had sent 3 officials to observe the 2014 General Election in Fiji. They were part of the Multinational Observer Group which was co led by Australia, Indonesia and India.

The Russian Federation is the world’s largest nation bordering European and Asian countries and has over a 100 million voters spread across an area of 13.1 million square kilometres.

Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Mr Robin Nair accompanied Ms Senimoli to the signing ceremony. The two are part of the Government delegation currently in Moscow attending bilateral discussions with various ministries and departments of the Federation of Russia.

—Ends —

The Supervisor of Elections [SoE] today conducted the first Trade Union election capacity building session at the Friendly North Inn, Labasa. The session was attended by Trade Union Officials, Trade Union Members as well as Employer representatives based in Labasa.

“It is an effective start to our plans to improve capacity of all relevant stakeholders and the turnout in Labasa was impressive,” said Mr. Mohammed Saneem, Supervisor of Elections.

The SoE highlighted the issues Fijian Elections Office [FEO] continued to face in terms of the lack of information about the actual list of members that Trade Unions have.

“We told the forum about how there are discrepancies between the list of member Unions submit at the time they give Notice of Intention to hold Trade Union Elections against the numbers kept in the records of the Registrar of Trade Union. Sometimes these discrepancies run into the hundreds,” explained Mr Saneem.

The FEO has proposed to maintain lists of members for Trade Unions as part of its ongoing electoral related responsibility. The FEO already maintains Voter Registration records of over 600,000 Fijians and will be able to expand its IT capacity to cater for this new database.

Participants, especially those from the Fiji Nursing Association expressed their appreciation to FEO for using Postal Ballot for their election allowing all nurses the opportunity to vote. Postal ballots are an alternative form of voting that FEO uses in cases where the voter is engaged in essential services.

The Capacity development training will continue in Suva tomorrow (27 September) and in the West on 28 September.

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] will conduct interactive Awareness Sessions for Trade Unions and respective employers on Trade Union Elections and electoral best practices across Fiji from 26 to 28 September 2016.

Guidelines for Trade Union Election, which was released in November 2014, aims to create a fair, transparent and credible electoral process whilst preserving the autonomous nature of trade unions.

“We have been successfully organizing Trade Union Elections based on our guideline for the past two years nearly and we have identified gaps in electoral practices of Trade Unions that we feel need to be highlighted and resolved,” said Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem.

This years sessions also include invitations to employers of respective Trade Union members.

“The idea is to ensure that all stakeholders are fully aware of the requirements and the processes in Trade Union elections and employing agencies are one of the key stakeholders. In fact, employing agencies, especially their Human Resources teams play very critical roles during membership verification exercise”.

The FEO has this time, also opened the forum for attendance by general members of Trade Unions who may wish to learn about the electoral process the FEO implements.

The FEO has to date organized 42 Trade Union elections and 100 branch level elections.

The FEO has identified 4 key issues that it hopes to address in the interactive awareness sessions:

1.         Lack of accurate and systematic recording of members of Unions. This eventually results in teething issues at the stage of voter list production. In one instance, the variation was an inflation of the membership listing by approximately 800;

2.         Laxity in updating records at Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial   Relations and the poor enforcement of the requirements of the ERP by the Registrar of Trade Unions. FEO has been advised that annual audited reports of several unions are not provided to the Ministry at the required time every year. Sadly, the Registrar has not exercised enforcement powers to ensure due compliance;

3.         Impractical electoral models that skew towards certain interests, and

4.         Difficult requirements imposed on potential new candidates.

“The FEO continues to advocate for improvements in the record keeping in terms of Union Membership and we are proposing that the FEO is given the responsibility to maintain this record independently. I encourage administrators and union members as well as employers to attend these sessions as this is also an opportune time for them to raise queries regarding electoral processes and guidelines,” Saneem said.

Interested persons are requested to register their interest to attend any of the sessions with the Industrial Elections Team of the FEO via email: aisea.wainiqolo@feo.org.fj or arieta.ranadinivuna@feo.org.fj or phone 3316 225.

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] conducted elections for the Fiji National University Students Association [FNUSA] last month – marking the formalization of months of preparatory work by the student steering committee and laying the foundation for the formation of the first ever Student Union within the university.

Barrel draw- Barrel draw conducted by the FEO to determine the order of candidates on the ballot paper.
Barrel draw- Barrel draw conducted by the FEO to determine the order of candidates on the ballot paper.

The Fiji National University [FNU] was formed in 2010 by bringing together various different schools and colleges throughout the country under the FNU umbrella. These schools, now called Campuses, either had student unions that were not very active or they lacked such associations entirely.

On 2 August, The Minister Responsible for Elections, exercising his power pursuant to section 154 of the Electoral Decree 2014, approved a request from the Office of the Chancellor of the FNU for the FEO to conduct FNUSA Elections.

Following the approval, FEO immediately began preparing for the election. The first challenge was formulating election standards, given that there were no regulations governing the procedural conduct of FNU elections and the Draft FNUSA Constitution only contained guidelines for candidacy. In response, the FEO decided to derive the procedures for the conduct of the election based on standards previously implemented in the successful Trade Union Elections.

The FEO implemented the following basic principles, which have consistently developed good electoral practices in small scale elections in Fiji to bring about consistency and high standards:

  1. clear and accurate timelines for elections processes;
  2. an accurate voter list;
  3. a proper and independent nomination process;
  4. a transparent and impartial polling process; and
  5. timely reconciliation of results and naming of office bearers.
FNU Student at voting screen – FNU students casting their votes to elect their student Union representatives.
FNU Student at voting screen – FNU students casting their votes to elect their student Union representatives.

The FEO prepared a proposed timeline for the election which was presented to the FNU team, as well as the representatives from the student-led Steering Committee. Once the proposed timeline was agreed, FEO advertised the Notice for the opening of nominations for the ten campuses. During the electoral process, the FEO worked in close conjunction with the Vice Chancellor’s Office at the FNU, which provided all the necessary information and logistical support that made the electoral process a success.

The table below breaks down the demographics behind the elections:

Campus Number of Positions for elections Number of Voters
Ba 7 142
Derrick 13 1,315
Koronivia 14 810
Labasa 14 301
Lautoka 9 924
Pasifika 14 1,596
Nabua 6 121
Namaka 8  601
Nasinu 8 1,273
Tamavua 11 644

 

At the close of Nominations period, it was found that many of the positions were returned uncontested. Those positions were immediately announced, however, there were 12 positions that were contested and which required the FEO to conduct campus elections.

The election itself was the largest ever conducted by FEO outside of an election year, spanning four different campuses and involving about 3,301 voters. The contested positions were President, Treasurer, Secretary, Public Relations Officer, Social and Cultural Chairperson, Assets Chairperson, Education Chairperson, Sports Chairperson and Religious Chairperson, which were to be selected from a pool of 32 candidates.FNU-Student-at-ballot-box-300x200

At universities in India, such as Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Aligarh Muslim University, student parties spend millions in campaigning and conducting elections.  They also follow similar concept in the United States of America [USA] Presidential elections, where student unions hold days of debates, promoting greater student engagement in the electoral process. These student representatives often go on to pursue careers in national level politics.

Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, said FEO used the FNUSA election as an opportunity to educate young people about how election systems operate, and he encouraged tertiary institutions to explore course offerings in electoral studies to boost national awareness and engagement with the electoral process.

“Our students are the future of this country, and it is vital that we impart an understanding of our electoral systems to our young people so that they can uphold our democratic systems. By getting involved in these FNUSA elections, we had a rare opportunity to engage with young Fijians and demonstrate electoral best practices so that we can increase voter understanding and participation down the road,” he said.

The 2016 FNUSA Election was conducted in line with recognized electoral best practices, which included:

  1.  The appointment of Mr. Mesake Dawai, FEO’s Review and Compliance Officer, as Returning Officer, which created an independent and impartial electoral environment. Mr. Dawai was also able to act as a conduit between the FNU and the Steering Committee during the process to ensure all stakeholders were able to cooperate and support the process.
  2. The publication of election notices in the media, which enhanced voter access and boosted interest in the election.
  3. The campaign guidelines in the FNUSA regulations that helped foster a peaceful, ethical and calm electoral environment.
  4. FEO’s implementation of a standard Nomination Form for all Candidates. This allowed for appropriate vetting, as per the Constitution, and greater transparency, in case a nominee wished to appeal the decision of the Returning Officer.
  5.  The Office of the Registrar at FNU’s submission of a list of eligible members who were entitled to vote in the election five weeks prior to the election. This comprehensive list assisted the FEO in determining the validity of Nominations.
  6. The “barrel draw” conducted by the FEO to determine the order of candidates on the ballot paper. This event was open to all candidates and other stakeholders.
  7. The FEO’s Postal Voting and Attendance Voting programmes which ensured maximum access for students. The polling stations were open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at all four campuses. Postal voting was available to those students who were on industrial attachments on the day of elections.
  8. The Polling Place setup, which replicated the General Election Setup, and the polling materials, which were the same as the General Election. The FEO did not use indelible ink in this election, as there was only one voter list and only one polling place – this is sufficient to prevent double voting in a small scale election.
  9. The 12,000 ballot papers printed by the FEO for this election. Printing was done in-house and it was decided that different positions up for election would be assigned different color ballot papers. Depending on the polling locations, voters received up to five different ballots to select candidates.
  10. An open ballot counting held on Wednesday, 26 October at venues assigned by the FNU. The counting was widely covered by the media.
  11. The formal announcement to the media, the Steering Committee, the Registrar’s Office and all the candidates following the Count.

Throughout the election, the Fiji Sun, Communications Fiji Limited and the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation all demonstrated consistent interests in the electoral process and outcome. These three media organizations actively reported on the elections and showed a strong commitment to supporting election events. Their invaluable support played a major role in publicizing candidates in the media – adding a layer of excitement and encouragement for those young people interested in pursuing politics.

According to FNU Vice Chancellor, Professor Nigel Healey, it is in the interests of students to have a very strong representative student body, and the FNUSA is now more qualified than ever to speak on behalf of students.

“It is very important that we have a student association that actually provides services to our students– that’s actually supporting them — in place. Because people come to university, not just for an education, they come in for a holistic experience,” he said.

The FEO recognizes that there is a need to develop capacity in elections in Fiji, not only for FEO staff, but for all Fijians. And this new involvement in Student Association elections at FNU is an effective step towards this goal. The Supervisor of Elections had also indicated that in the future, the FEO will directly involve students as election workers as well.

At the declaration of Results, Returning Officer, Mr Dawai, acknowledged and thanked the FNU and the FNUSA for inviting FEO to conduct elections for the various positions. He concluded with the following remarks.

“This is the first time election was conducted in a single day for FNUSA and we believe that, as such elections become periodic and consistent, we will receive positive turnout and increased active voter participation,” he said.

 

-ENDS-

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has extended the 2016 Electronic Voter Registration [EVR] Card Replacement Drive by two days to undertake a comprehensive voter registration and ID card replacement drive in Taveuni.

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EVR-Schedule-3

Fijians have seven more days to take advantage of the 2016 Electronic Voter Registration [EVR] Card Replacement Drive.

Fijian Elections Office [FEO] teams will be present in major towns and centres until Wednesday 20 July 2016 to allow members of the public to replace lost or damaged EVR Cards, change their details with the FEO and register to vote.

These voter services are instantaneous and free of cost.

Registered voters who wish to replace their lost or damaged EVR Cards simply need to come down to any of our EVR Centers and fill out the provided form to instantly receive their new EVR card.

Registered voters who wish to change their residential address and other personal details need to bring a valid birth certificate.

Eligible voters who wish to register need to bring their birth certificate and a valid form of ID.

For details on the locations and times, check daily newspapers or visit the FEO website: http://goo.gl/wSHSw5

-ENDS-

The Fijian Elections Office voter registration teams will be in major towns to replace damaged or lost EVR cards, register new and eligible voters and enable registered voters to change their details with us.

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Schedule-for-2016-EVR-Card-Replacement-Drive-Week-2

Election Management Body (EMB) Reps from the Pacific Region have nominated Fiji to the eight-member Steering Committee of the Commonwealth Electoral Network [CEN] at the 2016 CEN Biennial Conference in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.

Mr. Saneem (left) presents a report on Gender Mainstreaming in Pacific elections while Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Josephine Ojiambo (third from left) listens to his presentation during the 2016 CEN Biennial Conference.

The CEN was launched in 2010 by the Commonwealth Secretariat after it was endorsed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government. The Network promotes capacity building of Commonwealth election management bodies in conducting credible and inclusive elections in line with international best practices.

The Steering Committee of the CEN is composed of national election commissioners of Commonwealth member countries. The Chairperson of the Election and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad & Tobago, Mr. Mark Ramkerrysingh, has taken over Chairmanship of the CEN from Mr. Ahmed Issack Hassan, Chairperson of the Kenyan Electoral Commission.
“This is the first time that Fiji has participated at the CEN Biennial Conference which had participants from 39 Commonwealth member countries and being nominated as Pacific Rep to the Steering Committee is a great honor,” said Mr. Mohammed Saneem, Supervisor of Elections.
The 2016 CEN Biennial Conference served as a platform to discuss important issues such as strengthening women’s participation in elections, use ofnew technologies, social media, Commonwealth principles of good electoral practice, media guidelines, independence of EMBs and voter registration.
As one of the presenters at the Conference, Mr. Saneem spoke about the success of the Pacific Electoral Networks [PEN] Meeting held in Nadi, Fiji earlier this year which was hosted by the FEO in collaboration with the CEN and the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators Network [PIANZEA]. Mr. Saneem also presented a report on Gender Mainstreaming in Pacific Elections.
“It was also an opportunity for the FEO to extend its network and strengthen their institutional capacity through the exchange of knowledge and experiences,” Mr. Saneem said. “We will definitely continue to expand on this front and gain friends in the international electoral arena.”
The Conference took place from 22-24 June, 2016 and Samoa has also been nominated as a Rep for the Pacific Region.

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has extended the 2016 School Electronic Voter Registration [EVR] Drive to all major towns and centres around Fiji for the next 2 weeks.

“Since the beginning of the 2016 School Voter registration Drive, we have been receiving several requests from members of the public who either wanted to update their addresses with us or get a replacement Id card and that is why FEO has extended the registration drive to major town centres,” Supervisor of Elections Mr Mohammed Saneem said.

Eligible voters who wish to register need to bring their birth certificate and a valid form of ID to register.

For details on the locations and times, check daily newspapers or visit the FEO website.

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Mohammed Saneem, will join the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Observer Mission to observe the Snap Election in Vanuatu scheduled for January 22, 2016.

The MSG Observer Mission is led by former parliamentarian and Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Sir Francis Billy Hilly and will also include observers from Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia.

FEO_1
Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Mohammed Saneem at the Bougainville Election 2015

Former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau will also take part in the MSGs Observer Mission from Fiji. The Observer Mission will be joined by observer teams from the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth.

Mr. Saneem said he was honoured to observe Vanuatu’s Snap Election following Fiji’s participation in the Bougainville Election through the Pacific Islands Forum Observer Mission last year.

“As an Election Management Body (EMB), we are keen to observe elections throughout the Pacific to assist other EMBs and build trust and confidence in the democratic process through the conduct of transparent and accountable elections,” said Mr. Saneem.

The Snap Election will be contested by 183 candidates who will be vying for 52 seats, elected for a term of four years under 17 multi-member constituencies. The MSG Observer Mission will observe the conduct of these elections in line with international electoral practices.