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 4th July 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

FEO conducts Postal Voting awareness for stakeholders

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.

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

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

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

Tender for Election Material and Services

03rd November, 2017

The Fijian Elections Office will be advertising second round of its election material and services procurement in tomorrow’s newspapers in line with its 2018 General Election preparation plans.

Tenders are invited for the following materials and services:

  1. Ballot Paper Printing
  2. Postal Voting Courier Services
  3. Supply of Polling Station Sheds

Expression of interest for supply of motor vehicles is also being advertised.

The FEO understands that some of these materials and services will require our suppliers to place their own material order overseas to be able to meet the quantity and specifications that we require.

Some of these materials may take significant time to arrive in Fiji. Some services may also need thorough planning with the FEO and thus the need to advertise and confirm the suppliers early.

The FEO also needs to ensure that it has confirmation from suppliers in terms of their ability to deliver at notice following the announcement of Election date. Advertising early will allow the FEO to verify the capacities of its suppliers to ensure that the election time plans are not affected.

I would like to touch on some specs for the tenders:

Ballot Paper Printing

The FEO will require the successful tenderer to demonstrate the ability to print, bind and supply ballot papers as per the plan. At the moment the FEO anticipates we may have approximately 630,000 voters.

Ballot papers for the next general election should have atleast 3 security features, bound in books of 50 ballots papers per book and each book is to be uniquely numbered to track the book.

Our Suppliers must have sufficient capacity to operate and deliver approximately 750,000 not exceeding 800,000 ballot papers with 12 days. Additional information is available on the FEO website.

Postal Voting Courier Services

For the 2018 General Election, the FEO has divided the globe into 4 regions in an attempt to streamline the distribution and return of Postal Ballots. It is noted that there may be companies that specialize in some of these regions while there are some that look at distribution worldwide.

The regions are as follows:

  • Local Fiji
  • Pacific Islands
  • Australia & New Zealand
  • Rest of the world

Supply of Polling Station Sheds

The FEO estimates it will require approximately 160 Polling Stations that will be in Sheds. These may be locations that do not have adequate facilities to be used as polling stations or where there are more voters than the available space at a venue.

This time we would like suppliers to provide a 7m x7m shed with side covers including 10 chairs and 3 tables. Also a Porta-loo as well as atleast 2 x 4ft Tube lights and 2 power outlets. We prefer that suppliers bid for all these items as a package.

Expression of Interest for Supply of Vehicles

Total 4×4

  • 115 for Election Day
  • 110 for Pre-poll
  • 45 for awareness

3 Tonne –

  • 100 for election day

5 Tonne –

  • 15

The FEO wishes to advise that in accordance with s13 of the Electoral Act, all suppliers and contractors of the FEO must remain apolitical and must not engage in any political or campaign activity whilst engaged by the FEO.

All tenders by the FEO will be scrutinized by a duly constituted Tender Committee who may require additional information or inspection of the capacities of the suppliers. Bidders are requested to ensure that the Committee has received necessary access to all required information.

Interested person must only contact the secretariat and we reserve the right to reject any tenders from bidders who may attempt to contact other FEO personnel.

The FEO duly considers value for money, quality and capacity and it is not necessary that we award the tender to the lowest bid.

Tenders close on 8 December 2017 at 4 pm.

ENDS.

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

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Mr Suresh Chandra

Fiji National Polling Venue Directory Launch

Suva

6th September, 2017

10:00am

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

I would like to begin by taking this opportunity to thank all of you for taking out your valuable time and accepting our invitation.

I would also like to thank His Excellency, The President, for his acknowledgment of the work of the Electoral Commission and the Fijian Elections Office.

His Excellency’s kind words have motived my team and provided great encouragement to the Supervisor of Elections and the Fijian Elections Office.

Under section 75 of the Constitution, the Electoral Commission is responsible for conducting free and fair elections in accordance with the legal and electoral framework. The next General Election in Fiji is in 2018 – next year.

Since our appointment this year, my commission agreed to approach the 2018 General Election strategically. We understood that the Fijian Elections Office had already been working on several aspects of the Election.

We knew that the innovative and committed group of individuals at the FEO needed our support and guidance and as such, we chose the theme ‘Raising the Standards in the Delivery of Elections in Fiji’.

For the first time in Fiji’s history, the probable locations of Polling

Venues around the country have been identified and published as an annual publication.

Ladies and gentlemen, this means that electoral information will become increasingly available. At the moment we anticipate to have 2,149 Polling Stations throughout the country.

In March this year, the Director Operations explained how these venues were decided. Whilst these printed volumes are for school libraries, anyone can access the online version at the FEO website. I particularly like the feature online that can give you directions to your allocated Polling Venue.

I would like to commend the Fijian Elections Office for its vision to extend a copy of the Fiji National Polling Venues Directory to each Secondary School Library in Fiji during National Library Week.

Indeed, this will allow our young Fijians the opportunity and exposure to elections right from school. When we come for Voter Registration next time to schools, students will already have a resource to identify the 3 preferred Polling venues through this resource.

I would like to thank Ravneel Chand from the FEO who undertook this project. It was done well and looks very attractive. Keep up the good work.

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

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.

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission
Mr Suresh Chandra
2018 General Election – Election Officials Training
Suva
29th August, 2017
10:00am

Bula Vinaka ladies and gentlemen and thank you very much for attending this training.

I am extremely pleased to be present here this morning along with my fellow commissioners as we commence the Election Officials training for the 2018 General Election.

This is a milestone event in terms of the Electoral Calendar as we anticipate that the Election could be between April and November in 2018.

The Fijian Elections Office has completed recruitment in some parts of the country and is still continuing with the Recruitment Drive in other parts, but based on the plans that the Fijian Elections Office had, people who attend the Recruitment Drive on the first week have been processed and are now at the stage of training.

So all of you in front of me have been processed from the first week of recruitment and are now attending this first training session.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we commence the training of Election Officials, I wanted to sound a few reminders to all persons who may be interested to work in the 2018 General Elections:

To work in the 2018 General Election, we need people with the highest level of integrity, who can come and carry out the responsibilities of the Election Officials without fear or favour and in a very apolitical manner.

Election Officials must remain honest at all times and ensure that all the procedures prescribed the Fijian Elections Office and the Electoral Commission are followed to the letter.

The Election Officials determine the credibility of each election and it is very important that when you are handling the task of Election Officials, you must do so as per the procedures that have been prescribed for these positions.

Ladies and gentlemen, being an Election Official does not only mean that you are looking forward to the salary at the end of the day but this is a great service to the country and when one is called upon to serve their country, they must do so with utmost faith and honesty.

It is important that you ensure that you carry out your roles diligently and in a manner that is not only done – but is seen by the members of the public to have been done right.

Following the 2014 General Election, the Multi-National Observer Group gave high marks to the Election Officials. Ladies and gentlemen, we have to aim higher for the next election.

The Electoral Commission has chosen the theme ‘Raising the Standards in the Delivery of Elections in Fiji’ for the next General Election and it is our responsibility, both yours and mine, to ensure that the tenets of this theme are obtained.

Having said all of that ladies and gentlemen, I would like to congratulate you for  completing the recruitment process and now attending this training and I wish you all the very best for this workshop and I now declare the training for the 2018 General Election – Election Officials training program officially open.

Thank you, Vinaka vakalevu and Dhanyavad.

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

Click here to download the pdf

Statement by the Supervisor of Elections
Mr Mohammed Saneem
2018 General Election – Election Officials Recruitment Drive Update
25th August, 2017
11:00am – FEO HQ – EC Conference Room

Bula Vinaka ladies and gentlemen and a very good morning to you all.

I thank you for all for coming to this press conference where we will give you an update on our Recruitment Drive and what will happen after it.

The 2018 General Election – Election Officials Recruitment Drive is scheduled to finish on the 27th of August, 2017 at major town centres around the country.

The Recruitment Drive commenced on the 28th of July, 2017 and was run periodically around the
various town centres around the country.

The Fijian Elections Office would like to begin by offering its greatest appreciation to all the site owners that gave us their buildings as well as school administrators for allowing us time to use the classrooms during this holidays to conduct the Recruitment Drive. Thank you very much.

Coming to the numbers in terms of recruitment, as we had earlier advertised, the Fijian Elections Office was looking for applications of up to 17,000 Fijians.

17,000 applications would allow us sufficient opportunity to conduct a very rigorous, merit based selection process to identify the best candidates to work at the polling stations around the country.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have worked out based on the current number of polling stations, which is 2149, that the FEO will actually need around 10,102 Election Officials and 12,522 is what we are looking for.

In actual fact ladies and gentlemen, we can do with the 10,102 applications. Our requirements for each divisions are as follows:

In terms of Divisions, we need 4660 staff in the Central Division. We need 3673 staff in the Western Division and 1600 in the Northern division and around 169 staff in the eastern division.
Our statistics as at yesterday’s recruitment are as follows:

In the Central Division, we have received 5074 applications. In the Western Division, we have received 2885 applications and in the Northern Division we have received 1355 applications. We have not yet started the Recruitment Drive in the Eastern Division which will take place in Tavuki, Kadavu and in Levuka in September.

Therefore ladies and gentlemen, we have now received a total of 9314 applications as at last night. This has given us sufficient number of individuals for us to start training.

Before I go any further, I would just like to mention that we still have positions available for around 1000 people in the Western Division and around 400 people in the Northern Division which we hope will be filled tomorrow and Sunday during the opening hours of the Recruitment
Drive.

Coming back to the training ladies and gentlemen, training for Election Officials who have sat the test will commence next week. We understand that there is a lot of eagerness amongst applicants to find out when they will be invited for training.

As we have stated before, you will be notified through a text message as to when they can come and attend training. We will also try and publish the training locations and the reference numbers allocated to those training on the FEO website.

Any confusions arising out of this can be clarified by calling the number 1501.

The training will be conducted on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from the coming week. Trainings will be conducted during the morning sessions, afternoon sessions or evening sessions on these days. And priorities and allocations of persons will be made based on the person’s selected choice at the time of making the application.

If you are unable to attend at the time of the training allocated to you, please contact the Recruitment Assistants to change your allocated time.

The training venues for the next week’s training will be as follows:

Patel Samaj Hall, Suva; Nasinu Town Council Hall; Catholic Parish Hall, Nausori; Red Cross Hall, Lautoka and the Friendly North Inn Conference Hall, Labasa.

I just wanted to also mention that not everybody has to be trained in the first week. Do not rush. The trainings will continue until every person who has applied has attended the training.

Also, it is important that when you come for training, if you have not brought any of the required documents till now, you must bring it at training.

In the event you do not bring all the required documents like the bank statement at the training, we will not be able to process your pay and therefore it is important you ensure all your documents are up to date with us.

Attending of the training comes with an allowance $45 inclusive of your FNPF and other taxes and this will be deducted before you are paid.

So ladies and gentlemen, the Recruitment Drive is now in its last few days and we invite any Fijian, who has not yet found the time or the opportunity, to now take advantage of these last few days so that you can be included in the first round of the Election Officials Recruitment Drive for the next General Election.

Thank you very much for your time ladies and gentlemen.

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

Click here to download the pdf

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