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SIGNING OF THE TERMS OF REFERENCE BETWEEN THE FIJIAN ELECTIONS OFFICE [FEO] AND THE ASSOCIATION OF WORLD ELECTION BODIES [A-WEB]

PROJECT TO SUPPORT BUILDING ELECTORAL TRANSPARENCY THROUGH AUTOMATION OF VOTING AND COUNTING SYSTEM IN THE REPUBLIC OF FIJI

SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS

MR MOHAMMED SANEEM

His Excellency, the Secretary General of the Association of World Election Bodies;

The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Mr Suresh Chandra;

His Excellency, a friend of the FEO, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea;

Representative of KOICA in Fiji, also a friend of FEO;

The Electoral Commissioners;

Esteemed guests; and

Members of the media.

First of all, I would like to once again thank the Chairman for his words of inspiration to the FEO, as well as to our partner, the A-WEB. I would like to share the sentiments expressed by the Secretary General of A-WEB when he explained the project that the FEO is undertaking with the A-WEB.

Ladies and gentlemen, Excellencies, let me just issue a few more information on the exercise that we are about to undertake. Under the project, the FEO and A-WEB will be investing in fifty [50] units of touch screen voting machines that will be used for Trade Union elections only. These voting machines are the first step for the FEO to investigate ICT in elections specifically in relation to voting. They will not be used for the 2018 General Election.

The second aspect of this project, ladies and gentlemen, is to build redundant networks for an already existing data centre in the FEO. The experts from A-WEB conducted an exercise in Fiji where they inspected our network systems and security systems. The project is going to enhance the security and the network of the FEO especially since we will now be entering into a larger system such as the election management system for the next election.

We will be working on improving the security of the data we maintain. The FEO maintains data of records of up to 620,000 Fijians and in that regard, every Fijian expects the FEO to maintain this data in the highest level of confidentiality.

The third aspect of the programme is for the A-WEB engineers to train FEO officials to use the touch screen machines as well as to operate the redundancy and security systems for the data centre. This is only going to enhance capacity of the FEO as we wish to maintain the equipment we receive for long term uses.

The programme is to be completed by the end of this year and we hope to be able to use the touch screen voting machines for awareness purposes early next year for Trade Unions.

In terms of the budget for the project, it is approximately US$700,000 and we are grateful for this funding from the Government of Korea through A-WEB to facilitate this process.

We will be collaborating with A-WEB to ensure that the necessary environment is in place for the implementation of this programme. And we look forward to the completion of this programme as it is going to enhance our ICT capacities as well as introduce Fijians to electronic voting.

I must say, His Excellency, Samsung mobiles are very popular in Fiji.

And I am sure that technology from Korea will be received more positively.

Having said that, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the FEO team, I would like to say having joined A-WEB in 2015, this is a great achievement for us, in terms of having the Secretary General come to Fiji for this project. We are looking forward to strengthening our relationship with the A-WEB and partner organisations to enhance the quality of elections in Fiji.

So, Secretary General, sir, thank you very much for taking out your time and coming to Fiji. We hope you get some opportunities to have a look at our beautiful country and get your feet wet in the sea and dug up in the sand.

Having said those words, I would like to thank all the guests for attending this morning’s event. I would like to thank the Chairman of the Electoral Commission for officiating the signing and I would like to thank the Electoral Commissioners for availing themselves for this important event.

I would like to wish A-WEB the best for this year’s events.

Thank you very much and Vinaka Vakalevu.

 

-ENDS-