Bula Vinaka ladies and gentlemen.

 

This morning, the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] concluded the National Candidates Ball Draw and assigned three digit numbers to all 235 candidates for the 2018 General Election.

Ladies and gentlemen, the printing of ballot papers commenced last night after the Electoral Commission confirmed the number of candidates which would contest the General Election.

In total we will be printing 764,850 ballot papers for the 2018 General Election and the breakdown is as follows:

We have commenced with the printing of 20,000 Postal Ballot Papers.

Pre-poll and Election Day ballot papers will be printed thereafter.

The FEO will print 92,400 ballot papers for pre-poll and 652,450 ballot papers for Election Day.

Ladies and gentlemen, the candidate numbers or the Voter Instruction Booklet has already been circulated to the media and has been uploaded on our website.

These candidate numbers will be published in the newspapers tomorrow with the names and photos of the corresponding candidates.

This is to ensure that voters have ample time to familiarize themselves with the number of the candidate they wish to vote for.

The FEO will also publish the National Candidates List on a billboard situated at prominent locations so that there is more visibility around the candidate numbers.

Ladies and gentlemen, I encourage all registered voters to ensure that they are familiar with the three-digit number of the candidate they wish to vote for and at the same time to check where they are assigned to vote.

Also ladies and gentlemen, Voter Services Centres are open throughout the country in the event voters need to replace their VoterCards.  (However, we will not register any new voters and neither will we amend details. We will only replace lost or stolen cards).

Finally, we wish all candidates the very best for their campaigns in the 2018 General Election and hope that campaigns are in compliance with the electoral laws.

Thank you very much.

Bula Vinaka ladies and gentlemen.

 

The Electoral Commission has completed the deliberation on the appeals and objections that were filed for the 2018 General Election.

As you are aware, the Electoral Commission has upheld the only appeal that was filed by Mr Laitia Matalomani and the Supervisor of Elections has been directed to add Mr Matalomani as the 235th Candidate for the 2018 General Election

In relation to the objections, the Electoral Commission received 7 objections.

Six objections were against candidates for FijiFirst and there was an objection against all the candidates of HOPE.

At the conclusion of our deliberation and following the receipt of responses from the registered officers as well as candidates from both the parties, the Electoral Commission has dismissed all the objections that had been filed.

The Electoral Commission has informed the objectors as well as the respective political parties in terms of the decision of the Electoral Commission.

Therefore ladies and gentlemen, I wish to confirm that the total number of candidates for the 2018 General Election will be 235.

The Supervisor of Elections is hereby directed to prepare for the ball draw for the candidate numbers for the 2018 General Election.

The ball draw will take place at 10am tomorrow and due to the unavailability of any other venue that has the capacity to cater for the draw, the Supervisor of Elections will conduct the ball draw at GPH in Suva.

Arrangements have been made for the draw to be televised live on all television stations in Fiji.

I now wish to issue the Notice of Poll for the 2018 General Election:

 

Following the conclusion of the Nominations process, the Electoral Commission has noted that the number of Candidates nominated for the General Election is greater than the number of seats in Parliament and therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred upon the Electoral Commission under Section 35 (1) of the Electoral Act 2014, the Electoral Commission hereby publishes the following:

(i) Name, residential address, occupation and voter number of each candidate for the 2018 General Election;

(ii) Addresses of all polling stations and venues established for the purpose of taking votes during polling; and

(iii) Polling on Election Day, 14 November, 2018, to commence at 7:30am until 6:00pm or any other time as specified by the Fijian Elections Office.

 

And here is the Notice of Pre-Poll for the 2018 General Election:

 

In exercise of the powers conferred upon the Electoral Commission under Section 82(3) of the Electoral Act 2014, the Electoral Commission hereby publishes the venues where pre-poll voting shall take place and the dates and hours upon which the Fijian Elections Office will attend at those venues for the conduct of pre-poll voting.  

 

The Notice of Poll and Pre-Poll will appear in the daily newspapers tomorrow.

 

Thank you very much.

Suresh Chandra

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, thank you for attending this media briefing.

The Fijian Elections Office would like to announce that the total number of voters eligible to vote in the 2018 General Election is 637,527.

The total number of females is 316,431 and the total number of males is 321,096.

Central Division has 265,184 voters, Western is second highest with 244,245, North has 94,094, Eastern has 26,034 and a total of 7,970 are the Overseas registered voters.

The FEO has already printed the Provisional Voter List by Polling Station for i

ndividual Pre-Poll Stations and we have dispatched them to the Divisional Managers so that we can display the same at the respective locations.

The FEO intends to display the Election Day Voter Lists through its 1500 platform, meaning voters who are registered to vote on Election Day are now able to SMS their VoterCard number to 1500 and find out their Polling Venue and Station details.

The total number of voters assigned for Pre-Poll is 70,519 and the total number of voters eligible for voting on Election Day currently stands at 559,038.

The Final numbers for Election Day will be available on 27th October, 2018, after we have finalized the Postal Voting Applications.

Based on the above figures, the FEO will be printing 764,900 ballot papers bound into 15,298 books.

The total number of Election Day venues is 854 and there will be 582 Pre-poll venues.

On Election Day we will operate 1568 polling stations that will be managed by 10,000 staff.

The Electoral Commission has decided that the 44 days within which the FEO is required to conduct Election time processes will continue to run uninterrupted by Public Holidays.

After October 11th, 2018, Voters can check the details of where they will be voting by simply texting their VoterCard number to 1500. This is a free of charge service.

Ladies and gentlemen, at this point in time, I would also like to remind all contesting candidates that they have 8 days left, or 7 from tomorrow, to send in their completed nomination forms.

We will not accept any late nomination forms as candidates are given sufficient time to do so.

The FEO will not accept any candidate nomination form after 12pm as per writ on 15th October, 2018.

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

Fellow Electoral Commissioners,

The Supervisor of Elections,

Invited Guests,

Members of the media,

Ladies and gentlemen;

 

Bula Vinaka and a very warm welcome to you all this morning.

Pursuant to section 22 of the Electoral Act 2014, and upon receipt of the Writ for the 2018 General Election of Members of Parliament, the Electoral Commission hereby provides notice that the nomination period for the receipt of nomination of candidates for the 2018 General Election shall be from 8am on the 2nd October to 12 noon on the 15th of October, 2018 and the place for receipt of nominations shall be the Fijian Elections Office situated at 59 – 63 High Street, Toorak, Suva.

There will be two types of nomination forms for the 2018 General Election.

Form one [1] is for Independent Candidate nominations and Form two [2] is for Political Party Candidate nominations. Both of these forms can be accessed from the Fijian Elections Office website: www.feo.org.fj/about-us/forms/

Ladies and gentlemen, nomination forms are to be accompanied with deposits of $1,000.00 for each Party Candidate and $1,000.00 for each Independent candidate.

Those who wish to register their nomination as an Independent Candidate must also present a list of 1000 supporters in the approved form along with their nomination form.

Any candidate who wishes to withdraw his or her nomination form, can do so by providing a written notice to the Supervisor of Elections no later than 12pm on 16th October, 2018.

During the Nominations Period, the Supervisor of Elections will check all applications for compliance and decide whether an Independent Nomination or Party Nomination has met all the criteria in order to be approved as a Candidate for the 2018 General Election.

The approved List of Candidates for the 2018 General Election will then be displayed at the place of nomination on 16th October.

Following this, objections to any candidate nominations and appeals to the decision of the Supervisor of Elections must be received by the Electoral Commission at 59-63 High Street, Toorak, Suva no later than 4.00pm on 16th October, 2018.

Once these requirements have been met and any Objections and Appeals appropriately dealt with, the FEO will proceed with the National Candidates List Ball Draw to allocate individual numbers to approved candidates.

Thank you very much and Vinaka Vakalevu.

Fellow Electoral Commissioners,
The Supervisor of Elections,
Members of the media,
Ladies and gentlemen.
Bula Vinaka and a very warm welcome to you all.
It is my pleasure to announce that following the issuance of the Writ for the 2018 General Election by His Excellency, President Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote, under section 59 of the Constitution, we are now officially in Election mode.

The Writ for the Election contains the following details:
1. The election is for 51 members of Parliament to be returned at the Election;
2. The date for the General Election is 14 November 2018 and postal and Pre-poll voting will take place prior to this date.
3. Voter Registration closes at 6pm today.
4. Nominations commence from 8am on 02 October 2018 and close at 12 noon on 15 October 2018. Nominations will be received at the Fijian Elections Office, 59, 63 High Street, Suva; and
5. The Writ is to be returned on or before 28 November 2018.

Now that the Writ has been issued, Political Party Registration has closed and Postal Vote Applications are now open.
The total number of registered voters as of 17th September, 2018 stands at 634,120 out of which 314,686 are females and 319,434 are males. Registration will close at 6pm. As at today, there are eight (8) registered Political Parties eligible to contest the General Election. They are:

  • FijiFirst
  • Social Democratic Liberal Party
  • National Federation Party
  • Peoples Democratic Party
  • Fiji Labour Party
  • Freedom Alliance
  • Unity Fiji; and,
  • HOPE

At this juncture, I would like to elaborate on some of the key
dates for this Election:

  • 2nd October – Candidate Nominations Open at 8am;
  •  15th October – Candidate Nominations Close at 12noon;
  •  16th October – Candidate Nomination Withdrawals by 12noon;
  •  16th October – Candidate Nomination Objections and Appeals close by 4pm;
  •  19th October – National Candidates Ball Draw [or earlier as determined by the Fijian Elections Office];
  •  24th October – Postal Voting Applications Close at 5pm
  •  5th November – Pre-Poll Voting Begins;
  •  10th November – Pre-Poll Voting Ends;
  •  12th November – Media Blackout on Campaigning commences at 7.30am
  • 14th November – Election Day – Voting will be from 7.30am to 6pm
  • 14th November – Election Night – Provisional Results will be progressively released from 6pm

I would like to congratulate Fiji and all Fijians for the successful completion of the term of Parliament.
The Writ has been issued and it is now time for Fijians to vote again for the next Parliament.
Ladies and gentlemen, the 2014 General Election achieved some milestones with 84% voter turnout and 0.75% invalid votes.

We are optimistic that this year’s Election will set new benchmarks. This can only be possible if voters exercise their democratic right and come out to vote. The Fijian Elections Office has conducted a comprehensive voter education and awareness exercise to ensure that voters know what to expect at their Polling Venue and how to mark their Ballot Paper. We have great belief that the 2018 General Election will be a Platform for Fijians to express their will with confidence,
security and freedom.
Thank you and vinaka vakalevu.

Bula Vinaka ladies and gentlemen of the media and welcome to the Fijian Elections Office [FEO].

Ladies and gentlemen, after another round of thorough verification and adjudication process, the FEO has finalised the Voter Roll as at 17th September, 2018.

We now have a total of 634,120 registered voters and the breakdown is as follows:

In the Central Division, there are 262,629 registered voters;

In the Eastern Division, we have recorded 25,877 registered voters;

The Western Division, has 243,183 registered voters; and

From the Northern Division, the number of registered voters stands at 94,390.

There are 8041 voters who have registered overseas and are eligible for postal voting.

There are 314,686 registered female voters and 319, 434 registered male voters.

The number of new registrations between 31 July 2018 to 21 September 2018 stands at 2,421.

A total of 196 individuals have been removed from the Roll as they are now deceased. In total, the FEO has to date removed 24,426 deceased voters, including 14,892 in 2018 alone.

Ladies and gentlemen, the total voter registration reflects a zero point three five percent increase from our last update on 1 August 2018.

The oldest voter on the Roll is a 117 years old residing in the Northern Division.

John Wesley College is still the Polling Venue with the highest number of voters with 5,203 voters assigned to this location – an increase of 31 voters.

Sabata Village in Serua is now the Polling Venue with the lowest number of voters with 14 persons registered at this Venue.

Ladies and gentlemen, as you would be aware, the FEO is in the midst of the second Know Your Election awareness campaign where were are also conducting voter registration and update of details.

This will have an impact on the statistics which we have released to you this afternoon. Indeed, this will be the case until the Writ is issued as the FEO will continue to register voters.

Having said this, I urge all eligible Fijians to take advantage of the current voter awareness and registration drive. If you have not registered, please do so.

If you have changed your address or other relevant personal details, please update the same with our teams. If you have a family member who is now deceased, fill in the Deceased Voter Form.

Given that the date of the 2018 General Election could be announced at any time, individuals who have not taken advantage of our services, could miss out and consequently may not be eligible to vote on Election Day.

Ladies and gentlemen, our teams will be out in the field until the 6th of October or until the Writ is issued if it falls on a date before 6th October.

 

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

The Attorney General and Minister for Education, Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum,

The Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Fiji, HE Mr Raden Mohammad Benyamin Scott Carnadi,

The Deputy Vice Chancellor of USP, Prof. Richard Coll,

The Deputy Supervisor of Elections,

Invited Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula Vinaka and welcome to you all.

 

I have worked in an Election Management Body now for four years and six months. The evolution of elections in Fiji in that time has been something that I can vividly record and recall – even the smallest area of improvement or the smallest area of discussion.

Ladies and Gentlemen, over the last few years the Fijian Elections Office under the current framework has also been able to expose very small organizations such as Trade Unions, Taxi Associations or bigger organizations such as university staff and student associations to elections best practices.

As such, I now believe that it is necessary for Fiji and for our Pacific partners as well, to diversify our Electoral Education from something that we run internally to build capacity in our own staff and to keep within our boundaries, to actually expose through direct involvement in education institutions. The first round of training for Election Officials, Political Party Officials or Parliamentarians can actually be done at educational institutions rather than by Election Management Bodies or Civil Society.

My belief is that with the Introduction of the Election Management Program through the University of the South Pacific, the same can actually be implemented through to all the universities in Fiji. It’s an opportunity that the FEO is waiting to explore.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to state that when the FEO began, we only had 13 megabytes of data from which we had to make our manuals and prepare the staff for the 2014 General Election.

We heavily relied on experts and consultants such as Mr Lorrie McGrath and the Deputy Supervisor of Elections who helped us with the development of all procedures and manuals that we can now show and have in the office. That ladies and gentlemen, comes through experience.

But with time, we felt that there was a need for people to know these things by studying it; by actually reading textbooks. In 2014 after I left for home every afternoon, I sat down and read the ACE Project website which is the International Database on Election Discussion and at the end of the month of May in 2014, I must have read the entire website because I had printed around 1,700 pages.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that was the basis on which the FEO thereafter decided to do trainings on election management. We did not stick to the very top level or the political side but we went into the nitty gritty. We went into detail about designing the ballot papers in the way that we do; what some of the securities requirements are and what problems other countries faced.

We recently had to resolve a big debacle about what standing next to the table is.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we believe that there is room to study about elections, this is where ladies and gentlemen we would like to follow the footsteps of Indonesia, UK, Australia, the US, Canada and other European countries which are taking Electoral Education into universities.

It is more about having a theory driven evolution of election learning rather than experience driven election. We all want to have the situation where we already know what might go wrong rather than find out after doing it.

We need to broaden the capacity of the youth and the university students, academia as well as personnel on the ground, Political Parties, CSO’s and Election Management Bodies so that when they eventually get into any field of work elections remain as a significant portion of the good governance and the principle of integrity, fairness and credible election.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my experience in election has not only developed my career, but also greatly assisted me in my personal life. I hope that this program that we intend to build will build capacity around the need for elections to become an evolutionary platform rather than the stagnant code which become ancient day by day and it is realized years later that it is now applicable.

The Fijian Electoral Act in general is a very modern piece of legislation. It has recognized international practices which allows the FEO flexibilities as well as rigidity in terms of ensuring that Fijian elections are conducted on the best possible international standard and at the same time, I am subjected to review of the accepted and expected international form of free and fair election.

The University of the South Pacific has provided the platform for Fiji and our local regional partners so that our staff and students who may eventually win awards or scholarship are interested in taking this Election Management course; This can be their career path – with the FEO, the parliament, or Ministry of Foreign Affairs – in terms of their democracy reporting responsibilities – it could be a lawyer who works in the Solicitor General’s Office or it could even be an accountant but who has interest in ensuring that the election that Fiji conducts is fair and credible and follows the law.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we would like to create a culture where people are learned in the subject rather than the knowledge by experience or to wake up and decide that this what a free and fair election is going to be. We have seen a lot of that in Fiji. Imagine our country in a few years’ time when all the Universities start offering subjects in election and students know and can access the basics of recognized international principles rather than homemade information and knowledge.

They will hold the Election Management Body to account – they will hold the politician to account as well as other stakeholders. This will only promote our democracy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to conclude by thanking the Indonesian government, Professor Carnadi, the Australian High Commission, Prof. Sandra Tarte and her team. I would like to thank the honorable Minister for his time this afternoon in witnessing the signing of today’s event.

I would like also thank our partner the International IDEA and I wish that this Agreement becomes a well-recognized force of education in the Pacific region as well.

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

Bula vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen.

My preference this morning is to address you not as the chief guest but I would like to talk you as the person who is the Returning Officer for the 2018 General Election.

Ladies and gentlemen, the responsibility of being the Returning Officer means that I am responsible for every ballot paper, for every politician, for every ballot box and for every single staff who operates polling stations.

I have delegated that responsibility squarely on the team here but there is a lot of delegation to you as well.

In an operation as this ladies and gentlemen, consistency cannot really be understated.

Pre-poll is a precursor to our General Election for the one day election.

We cannot have different procedures in pre-poll and on Election Day.

Of course there are legal procedures that are different like the secret envelope and there is no counting in the evening but our style should not change.

When you are training pre-poll staff, if there is something that you need to fill in the space between your thought and another thought, tell them that they need to be polite. They need to be humble.

We are doing a duty to every voter that is turning up to vote.

We are not be swayed by what some politicians, some disgruntled politicians, some disgraced politicians are saying.

We are to stick to our procedures. We stick to the procedures that have been tried and tested.

This is not the first election that the Fijian Elections Office is running. This not the first time we are discussing procedures in a room.

The team at the office has worked considerably hard for the last four years and the procedures that we have developed have been tested.

There has been numerous mocks conducted so we have confidence in delivering this to our staff.

You should feel confidence also that the procedures are designed to ensure that there is reconciliation, accountability and at the same time highest levels of transparency.

As trainers, you will need to thoroughly familiarize yourselves with the election procedures that you are about to impart to our staff.

I have been to a few mock events in which we have already invited people whom you have trained and I am impressed.

Because the level of information that the staff who come and operate procedures on those days is significantly high. Their familiarity is very good. Their confidence is good.

Which means that the people who we have selected to carry out the training are very good. I congratulate you for this excellent achievement.

I know it has not been an easy task conducting training for three hours. I know it has not been an easy task conducting several trainings over the weeks but ladies and gentlemen, someone has to do it.

Which brings me back to the role of the Returning Officer.  My last consideration will be how happy or unhappy the politicians are with the process.

My priority will be that on Election Day, the voter gets the best possible service at the polling station. Whether it’s pre-poll or Election Day or whether it is when the voter comes into our Voter Services Centre to get services in terms of their VoterCard or Voter details. That is our priority.

The election is meant for the voter ladies and gentlemen. It is the voter – number one.

People who are seeking attention with this and that, they are actually seeking the attention of whom? The Voter.

And those who are not registered, they can’t complain. They have still have time.

But ladies and gentlemen, at pre-poll, our teams have to understand in advance that we are going to some of the most remote locations in our country.

We may have to play the role of the Voter Information Officer as well. We may have to play the role of the assistance provider. We may also have to play the role of being the prefects to say ‘sorry, you can’t do that’.

So Election Officers in the field are not only going to be the ones who are going to stick to the script to do that 8-5 or 7-12 job. They have to play another role as well. Many other roles.

We must demonstrate the best customer service experience Fijians get. They deserve nothing less ladies and gentlemen. This should be what we need to inculcate in our trainings to start with.

Based on our HR requirements, we are recruiting the best people we can get for pre-poll. We need to make sure that they are trained so that they can deliver pre-poll and people look forward to the Election Day.

Pre-poll is not a training for voters. It is an actual election. They will only be able to vote there. Voters need to be educated on that. They need to know that if I vote here today, that’s it. I can’t vote again.

So our staff need to make sure that the voter is able to realize their vote with the same level of seriousness that we would do on Election Day, with the same level of security that will be there on Election Day, with the same level of sensitivity that will be there on Election Day.

As the team working with the Returning Officer for this General Election, there is some other responsibilities on us.

Politics in our country has taken an unfortunate turn. Some ruthless politicians have taken to defaming the office, to defaming the people who worked in this office or to attacking the 10,000 or so staff that worked in the last election – without evidence.

And the audacity to step up without this evidence to say ‘I am not going to give the evidence and I am just going to say this.’

So someone would say they are lies. But then someone would also say they are desperate.

When you are conducting the training, you conduct the training based on our procedures and manuals that we have developed.

You do not need to build in an additional procedure just because you saw Mahendra Chaudhry on Facebook saying the election will be rigged in pre-poll.

Don’t worry about him.

Run the training, run the procedure based on our requirements.

Don’t worry if his son says pre-poll is rigged. They are saying 2014 was rigged but have no evidence. So these are people who are trying their best luck. Sometimes you think they are trying to stay on top to remain noticed – desperate for attention. Desperate being the key word.

In our line of work, ladies and gentlemen, we are not bothered by what they say. Our job is our job.

That’s what the people of Fiji expect us to do. The best endorsement is when you are on the street and someone says to you ‘Keep going son. Don’t worry about this’.

The Fiji Labour Party has been complaining about elections ever since we have been having election. Everytime except for 1999 obviously.

Everytime there was an election, they stood up saying ‘something was wrong in this election and we will tell you after the next election’.

So we know them and the people of Fiji know them as well.

What we need to do as election management people is to make sure our election staff are so well trained that these things do not affect them.

Our team will take such great ownership of this process that they are not going to be affected by what social media says.

They are going to run the process so that it is consistent with international best practice as designed by the people on my team.

And trained by all of you. If someone goes home today and says what am I going to get out of this election?

You are going to get that satisfaction when the date of the election is complete and your staff finds you on the streets and say’s Thank You for training me.

Don’t worry about other ancillary matters. Every person’s upbringing, your beliefs, are centered around that conscience and that is what we need to work on.

When you are dealing with your staff, I want you to tell them very clearly that they are not to change any procedure based on what they see in the media or in the social media.

The directives for amendments of procedures will come from our offices only period. It is very simple.

I can tell you that we have developed all the procedures with such level of detail that there is a reconciliation process built in every procedure at every step.

We will make sure that we account for everything ourselves. We don’t want to wait for anyone else to account for us. We are running this election not the political parties. We are not going to wait for them to come and validate our documents.

I bet they will not even be able to have polling agents at all the polling stations. They should focus on that.

We will focus on having staff at every polling station. We will focus on making sure that all our documents are completed. All our paperwork is proper, in legible handwriting, and all our paperwork accompanies every other item that is supposed to reach us.

That is what we have to focus on. That is exactly what we need to do. In pre-poll, I have another thing to discuss in relation to pre-poll. Pre-poll is the only time where the staff will have to look after the ballot box for a considerable period of time. They will have to travel from place to place. They will have the custody of the ballot box. The police officers will be there.

That I am sure everybody will understand. There is great amount of sensitivity and because of our already conducted training I don’t think I need to reemphasize that. We need to keep that in order.

We will store the ballot boxes in shipping containers. At the warehouse there will be a twenty four hour live feed showing the entrance to the shipping containers.

There is going to be proper reconciliation of the receipt and dispatch of the ballot boxes. It is the most secure way to do it.

And we are not doing it in a warehouse where there is no proper lighting. We are doing it right in the middle of our warehouse carpark where our shipping containers are, these are guarded by the Fiji Police. So pre-poll materials will be secure and they will be taken securely to the count center.

Once the pre-poll materials are at the count center, counting will take place and then it will be then returned for storage.

Our staff need to pay careful attention during the transition of these materials that they are very secure. We have to pay careful attention to that.

Ballot boxes are custom sized to allow them to be carried on their lap. If the presiding officer is conscious he can do that.

But I am sure the team is going to train you on the day on how these materials are to be properly handled and we will ensure that our procedures at the warehouse are there to safeguard of these materials.

There are some seventy-two thousand people who will be voting in pre-poll out of the six hundred thousand voters.

They are as equal as important as the six hundred thousand voters. Five hundred and fifty thousand voters actually. So it does not mean that pre-poll voters are insignificant. Pre-poll voters are significant.

We need to make sure that every voter has that opportunity. Ladies and gentlemen, the election date has not yet been announced.

But we must make sure that in this refresher, our pre-poll staff are ready and equipped with all the necessary training so that they are able to deliver the pre-poll as we expect.

And then we look forward to seeing you for the refresher for the Election Day. So having said all this I would like to wish you all the very best for the training.

I would like to heartily thank you for putting in this effort in training the teams that have already been trained. We are impressed by the work you have already done and we implore you to continue this excellent work so that we have the best trained officials for the 2018 General Elections.

With those few words ladies and gentlemen, I wish you all the best for your training.

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

Bula vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen.

At the moment, our most important stakeholders are our voters.

This morning, I would like to impart to you my thoughts and expectations of your extremely critical roles. The FEO always aspires to deliver services of the highest quality while at the same time upholding integrity and without compromising on the efficiency.

The above can be achieved if you follow the following simple advice:

  1. Accept that you are the person representing the organization. At that point of contact with the customer, you are the FEO. What you do, what you say, how you do, how you say and the speed of delivery will be the units of measurement in terms of the customers ultimate perception of the FEO.
  2. Things such as presentation, approach, delivery of information and knowledge of your firm’s vision are the key details that one needs to be highly familiar with.
  3. It is also highly important that one is confident when having things discussed with integrity and keeping confidentiality in mind at all times.
  4. Our work requires proper step by step process to be followed and it is essential that the processes are done with the same manner from the beginning till the end, this is important to ensure that there are no discrepancies when it comes to handling any scenarios such as meet and greet or even disputes. All customers around the country should be given exactly the same service for any particular process and not different. We need to be consistent to the letter as best we can.
  5. The client, visitor or any person available would have set expectations to have their queries and concerns resolved, it would be our role to ensure that this is completed with the best of our capabilities, not only to meet but to exceed expectations.

BULA or BULA VINAKA! – PLEASE DO NOT FORGET THIS ladies and gentlemen.

The first impression is always the lasting impression so the first impression you must give to anyone who enters is that you are approachable and are ready to assist them. In this case you are the face of our impression -literally

I am sure that the trainers worked out an excellent training for you. This will also be your opportunity to ask questions or seek clarifications as well. I hope you enjoy the training.

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

Bula vinaka ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your attendance.

 

This afternoon I would like to announce the procedures that the Fijian Elections Office will be following when it comes to voting by persons with disabilities.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, as we are aware, Section 57 of the Electoral Act specifically states that when a voter is at a Polling Station and suffers from incapacity by either blindness or other physical reason from voting, the voter may request the Presiding Officer to assist him or her to cast a vote.

 

However, we are also aware of the fact that earlier this year that Parliament passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and Fiji has also ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As such the requirements under section 47(c) on the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act now becomes the law.

 

Section 47 reads that – all persons with disabilities have the right to effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others directly or through the assistance of a representative and the right and the opportunity for person with disabilities to vote and be elected including by;

Section 47, Subsection (c): guaranteeing the free expression of the will persons with disabilities as electors and to this end where necessary at the request allowing assistance in voting by a person of their own choice.

 

Following the approval by Parliament of this law, the FEO has thereafter sought legal opinion and we have now modified the procedures for voting by person to disabilities as follows.

 

A person who is suffering from disability may now select the person of their own choice who has to be a registered voter, to assist the person with disabilities to mark their ballot paper inside the polling station on Election Day. They can also do the same for Pre-Poll.

 

However ladies and gentlemen, there are few matters that have to be complied with:

 

  1. The person assisting the voter must be a registered voter;
  2. The Presiding Officer appointed by the FEO will be overseeing the process of assistance being provided by this person selected by the voter.

 

The Presiding Officer will record the details of the voter as well as the person assisting the voter in the Presiding Officers Record Book to ensure that information regarding this assistance being provided is available for reference purposes.

In terms of the provision of assistance, in order to protect voters as well as the integrity of the elections the FEO has imposed the requirement that a person may only assist up to two person with disabilities.  Thereafter, that person is no longer eligible to provide any other assistance to any other voter at the same polling station.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, this change in the procedure is to align the FEO in accordance with the requirement of the Rights of Person with Disabilities Act as well as the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

 

The FEO has consulted Disabled Persons Organizations in relation to this procedure prior to the approval process.

 

So, on Election Day or during Pre-Poll, persons living with disabilities now has the opportunity to elect a person of their choice – who has to be a registered voter – to assist them in marking the ballot papers.

 

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

Bula Vinaka ladies and gentlemen of the media and welcome to the Fijian Elections Office [FEO].
Ladies and gentlemen, after a thorough verification and adjudication process, the FEO has finalised the Voter Roll as at 31st July, 2018.
We now have a total of 631,895 registered voters and the breakdown is as follows:
In the Central Division, there are 261,603 registered voters;
In the Eastern Division, we have recorded 25,941 registered voters;
From the Western Division, the FEO has registered 242,171 Voters; and
From the Northern Division, the number of registered voters stand at 94,200.
There are 7,980 voters who have registered overseas and would be eligible to cast their vote via postal ballot.
There are 313,239 registered female voters and 318,656 registered male voters.
We had a total of 3,572 new registrations between June and the end of July.
Currently, John Wesley Primary School is the Polling Venue with the highest number of voters with 5,172 while Dogotuki Village FEO Tent has the smallest number of voters with 19.

Ladies and gentlemen, if some of you had attended our previous announcement regarding the National Voter Roll, you would notice that as at 31st May, 2018 the total stood at 636,764.
You will notice that there is a significant decrease number of voters as we have now successfully verified and removed 7,684 marked as deceased.
The confirmation for deceased voters was done through various aspects, firstly we got the data from the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) Registry; the data was then verified through fieldwork during our nationwide drive as well as from our direct visits to various locations just to make sure the data is accurate.
Thereafter, ladies and gentlemen, we engaged with the Fiji National Provident Fund [FNPF] and I’d like to thank the CEO of FNPF for his assistance in the verification process to check the number of voters that are deceased against the records held at Fiji National Provident Fund.
We also checked this data against other agencies such as the Ministry of Health and the Judiciary to ensure that those people who are confirmed deceased are only removed from the roll.
At the end of that exercise we managed to confirm 7,684 and they have been now removed from the voters list.
Ladies and gentlemen, currently when a person reports of a deceased voter they do not include their voter details in that report. This proves a little bit of an exercise for us to verify the status of a person in the event they have passed on.
So far, we have removed a total of 24,230 deceased voters from the roll including 14,696 in 2018. Between the months of June and July, we removed a total of 7,684 deceased voters.

However, we are still requesting family members, friends or members of communities to please inform us if there is someone on the voter roll who has passed away and should be removed. This is essential for the FEO to maintain a very clean an accurate roll.
We do not want to remove people without getting confirmation and as such we will go to great lengths to ensure that the persons that have been removed from the voters list are confirmed as deceased.
The motive of an accurate voter list is to ensure that eligible voters are able to cast a ballot, reduce inaccuracies, and speed up the voter identification process at polling venues.
An international report by the Public Interest Legal Foundation of the United States titled ‘Best Practices for Achieving Integrity in Voter Registration’, stated that accurate voter rolls are important to the electoral and political process as errors in voter information data could have a significant or negative impact on the result of a general election. This is the kind of integrity that Fiji needs to maintain.
We have forms available online for any person who wishes to confirm the status of a voter who may have passed on and it is a simple process which you can fill and send to us.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to once again remind everybody that voter registration will cease following the issuance of the Writ.
It is therefore important for all eligible Fijians who still have not registered to still do so.
We now have Voter Services Centres open all over the country as much as 28 Centres and Fijians can take advantage of any of these Centres nearest to their place of residence.

As I have said, the data that we have released today is not the final data as voter registration is ongoing. We will be releasing the final data following the issuance of the Writ.
Incorrect statements by Fiji Media Watch
The Fijian Elections Office would also take this opportunity to clarify an incorrect statement issued by an organization holding itself out as the Media Watch Group and we have been provided a copy of the statement which is also published on their Facebook Page as well as sent to media organisations as the Fiji Times was querying about it.
We have noted that in the said statement this group has stated that the date for the General Election is 26th November.
We have perused the statement and we have found that the makers of the statement have failed to take into consideration various provisions on the Constitution which would then allow them to make a correct decision the legal position regarding the Election Date.
The Constitution is very clear. Following the conclusion of three and six months of Parliament, the Prime Minister may advice the President at any time to dissolve Parliament and issue the Writ for the Election.
And this is a necessity. This does not mean that the Parliament would have to convene and vote for a majority for the Parliament to be dissolved but it’s directly on the advice of the Prime Minister to the President.
At this point in time, as the election management body, we would like to urge caution to all groups such as the Media Watch Group and any other group that may formed for the purposes of advocating for the 2018 General Election to be cautious about the types of publications that they produce particularly when it is being disseminated across of mediums such as Facebook as it will only create confusion.
The Fijian Elections Office has already published numerous materials that can be relied on to get the most accurate information in relation to the election and these groups are invited to first read through our materials so that they know from the election management body directly what the legal position is and in the event they have any queries, they may contact us for clarification.
For the purposes of this statement, we would like to categorically state that the Media Watch Group statement as issued on 31st July is incorrect in law and the fact that it has been disseminated without proper vetting in terms of the legal side of things makes it quite cautious and I may say even irresponsible.
Henceforth, the Fijian Elections Office urges all groups such as this group to seek clarification from the FEO before publically announcing any position in law as they may end up misleading voters.


Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

Bula Vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

I would like to welcome once again Leena to the FEO. And of course Adhy is here as well. It’s good to have you here.

I also acknowledge the presence of our Deputy Supervisor, Directors, Technical Consultants, team from the International IDEA office in Fiji and of course my friends and the colleagues of the FEO.

This year is quite special for us as we are celebrating our fourth anniversary.  This occasion also coincides with the conclusion of the term of the first MoU that the FEO signed post creation.

This was the MoU with international IDEA. It is an honor and a privilege for the FEO to receive the agreement of International IDEA in the first place to sign MoU with a newly budding election management body in a country that just transition into electoral democracy.

And following that, the execution of that agreement the FEO and the International IDEA have collaborated on various fronts to enhance the evolvement of election procedures and practices in Fiji.

The most notable aspect we must say has been the participation of International IDEA in the Pacific Electoral Network’s meeting in Nadi wherein there was a presentation that was done by International IDEA to the entire Electoral Management Bodies throughout the Pacific on election best practices.

International IDEA is also known as the largest publication house of election literature in the world, and they have kindly agreed to supply the FEO with Election text books that we were able to deliver to ten major libraries around the country.

This was part of the plan to enrich libraries and resources within our country with international standard text literature on election, something that we overlooked in the past in our country.

International IDEA also was greatly helpful in assisting the FEO in our endeavors to first create and furnish our first library on election literature in Fiji.

I was glad to be invited by International IDEA to contribute a chapter to one of its publication titled ‘Introducing Biometric Technology in Elections’ on the use of biometrics in the voter registration processes.

May I thank Leena and Adhy for this opportunity as this publication from 2017 is now available on the International IDEA website as well as forming an assistance mechanism for any election management body that may intend to adopt the voter registration tools that Fiji currently has.

International IDEA also introduced to Fiji the election risk management tool that it has developed to assist election management bodies like us in assessing, tracking and managing risks as well as averting them.

This tool is widely used by Election Management Bodies and I am privileged to say that FEO looks forward to the use of this tool by Mereseini’s team in this Election.

International IDEA also collaborated with us as Leena has mentioned for the development of the Candidates Handbook which has been drafted based on guidelines from International IDEA and we were glad to facilitate this especially in our office and thank you Adhy for the tireless effort and the person that International IDEA had assigned as well as for your own contribution to this manual.

I am sure all the Candidates for the upcoming General Election will appreciate having such a guide on hand and they have to read it.

The FEO would like to once again thank International IDEA for its continuing collaboration with us and we are looking forward to something interesting in the future.

In fact our actual endeavor is to eventually list Fiji as one of the signatory countries to the International IDEA Convention so that we are able to benefit from and participate in electoral democracy related activities of countries that are already on that platform perhaps plan for the next strategic plan.

I’d like to welcome the fact that International IDEA has already established your office in Fiji as part of the C3 project and it creates an opportunity for Fijians as well as the election management body to benefit through collaboration with this great organization in our local arena.

Thank you for agreeing to continue to extend our relationship and I look forward to fruits of this relationship bearing greater access to elections and elections practices in Fiji and in the future.

 

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

His Excellency, the Indian High Commissioner, Mr Vishvas Sapkal,

Karyl Winter, our Deputy Supervisor of Elections,

Representatives from the High Commission of India to Fiji,

Ladies and gentlemen.

 

First of all it is an honour and a privilege to once again be here to receive some assistance towards the 2018 General Election.

For the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] and on behalf of the team at the FEO your Excellency – and the people of Fiji may I take this opportunity to thank you and the Indian Government for their kind assistance to our election management body in terms of the facilitation of transporting equipment for the General Election in the future.

Ladies and gentlemen on the day we received this assistance in a form of a cheque for the sum of $224,000.00, I mentioned that the Election is the largest logistic exercise in peace time for any country and Fiji is no different.

The unique features of election involves a lot of transportation requirement to various areas through roads that require tough terrain vehicles, as well as vehicles that can sustain the off road requirements.

The Mahindra vehicles that we have purchased from the assistance are actually designed for these roads.

The vehicles are, from our experience in 2014 – very strong vehicles, reliable in these condition. Vehicles that can actually handle some of the difficult driving that we have to manage through to get the equipment across and get the equipment back.

Your Excellency, the Mahindra Scorpio that we have acquired from the assistance is a six speed turbo charge vehicle that is very strong and has got enough power to deliver materials to our interior locations.

Of course you will see them around in Suva for the first couple a thousand kilometres for us to ensure that initial service and checks are done, after that we will definitely deploy into the areas.

So far, we have received a total of 14 vehicles from the Indian Government for the FEO as well as the luxury vehicle for the Electoral Commission transportation that His Excellency handed over at least a month ago.

We’d like to acknowledge the tremendous support as well as the friendship that the FEO shares with the High Commission of India in Fiji and credit goes to His Excellency Mr Vishvas Sapkal for his steadfast approach.

His Excellency has been a great friend to the FEO and has stepped forward to provide us the assistance and guidance that we may need at any point in time.

This morning ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to especially thank and personally recognize and endorse His Excellency’s commitments towards Fiji, the Fijian people as well as the FEO and we decided that it would be appropriate for us to honor His Excellency’s continuing efforts by providing and by honouring him through the presentation of a small token to commemorate his assistance.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I now please present His Excellency with the token of appreciation from all of us at the FEO.

Before I conclude I just want to talk a little bit more about the vehicle because this is election time and we usually have to do a lot of awareness to ensure that a lot of people are reminded that there is an election.

We decided to personalize the number plates of the vehicle to something more prominent and more appealing and behind us is the black Mahindra which has numbered ‘VOTE’ on its right is ‘I VOTE’ and ‘MY VOTE’ and far left is ‘WE VOTE’ and we will be distributing these vehicles to the Divisions.

So I am sure that the members of the public will remember, the Election is coming.

We are indeed very thankful for the support in terms of transportation for the General Election, please accept our sincere appreciation.

With those few words, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your attendance.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission,

Electoral Commissioners,

Members of the Diplomatic Corp,

Invited Guests,

Members of the Media.

Bula vinaka ladies and gentlemen.

I’d like to begin by thanking the Chairperson for his statement and remarks, it is greatly encouraging to receive such a statement from the boss in the morning as we proceed to another important week this week ladies and gentlemen.

From our part, the Fijian Election Office has ensured that all our goals and outcomes are not only focused on the better delivery of the 2018 General Election but also sets the foundation for an improved election in the future.

It’s about time we Fijians stop discouraging ourselves from thinking that we are too far behind or that we cannot achieve something just because we are from the tiny dot in the world map.

I refuse to subscribe to this line of thought and anyone who pushes this idea.

Ladies and gentlemen, this morning we have proven that if you set your mind beyond your comfort zone you achieve anything.

I still remember the day I had the idea discussed with Vijendra and his response was – “Yes, I can do it.”

Congratulations Vijendra, it’s in our hands literally and you have done it. Thank you.

The website idea also started from the famous whiteboard at the office where majority of the initiatives has taken shape from squares and text on a whiteboard – the possibilities have become endless.

Nathienial has pulled through very well and here we are ladies and gentlemen, we have a result website that can allow anyone who accesses it direct results at their comfort.

We have now progressed from the traditional result announcement on the media onto more direct accessible and available platforms.

Considering 40% of our population are below the age of 40, these will become the initiative of today for the future.

I am also very thankful to the team that work tirelessly in compiling the special edition of the Lavetiviti. My sincere thanks to Mario, Lynette, Shivika, Elesi, James, Jiuta, Darshani, Edwin, Arin, Shane, Riaz, Shelvin and everyone else who pitched in to have this publication ready.

I am sure it will make healthy reading particularly for our observers.

 

This morning we have also launched the live feed of our warehouse facility.

We had previously announced that there will be various locations that will be under guard and cameras will be placed to be live 24/7 on the internet so that you can also view the stored ballot

boxes from your mobile phones or your personal computers.

The live feed that we demo to you today will be placed on the Count Centre, Result Centre as well as the packing arena as we have advised.

We want Fijians to be able to see the actual process taking place.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the 2018 General Election, we will try our best to show the election process for all voters and Fijians to decide.

At the end of the day in this process there will be a winner and those who do not have a majority – this how democracy works.

I’d like to thank all our distinguished invited guests for taking out their time from their busy schedule and attending this event.

A special thanks to Mrs Paulini Lavetiviti who has accepted our invitation to join us on this occasion.

I wished to the Chair and the members of the Commission and the team from the Fijian Election Office and our media partners for their attendance.

Vinaka.

Statement by Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

Updated Voter Roll Statistics

FEO HQ Conference Room- 06/06/18-11.00am

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem

Bula Vinaka ladies and gentlemen of the media and welcome to the Fijian Elections Office [FEO].

Ladies and gentlemen, after a thorough verification and adjudication process, the FEO has finalised the Voter Roll as at 31st May, 2018.

We have a total of 636,764 registered voters and the breakdown is as follows:

In the Central Division, there are 265,745 registered voters;

In the Eastern Division, we have recorded 26,006 registered voters;

From the Western Division, the FEO has registered 243,569 Voters; and

From the Northern Division, the number of registered voters stand at 94,954.

There are 7490 voters who have registered overseas and would be eligible to cast their vote via postal ballot.

Of the total number of voters, 67,829 will be voting via pre-poll, and 568,943 are Election Day voters.

Data March 2017 25 July 2017
Male 307,526 313,453
Female 298,471 303,137
Total Registered 605,997 616,590

On 26th July, 2017, the Central Division had 258, 849 voters, Western Division had 230,058, the Northern Division had 94, 577 and the Eastern Division had 26, 836 voters.

Ladies and gentlemen, our current tally of registered voters represents a 7.17 percent increase from 2014 General Election when we had 591,101 registered voters.

The FEO has noted a gradual, annual increase in voters over the last 4 years.

The increase in registered voters can be attributed to the annual Voter Registration Drive for Schools, the opening of Voter Services Centres around Fiji, and requests for voter registration from businesses and government entities.

One of the largest contributors has the recent Know Your Election campaign from March to April 2018 where we sent teams to all villages and communities to register voters.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Voters Roll is still available at our various Voter Service Centres around the country.

We are encouraging voters to check their details on the Voter Roll and to inform us if any of the details are incorrect so that we may make necessary amendments before the 2018 General Election.

The update of the Voter Roll isn’t just about checking the number of Fijians registered to vote – it is a meticulous exercise to account for every individual captured in the National Register of Voters.

One of the processes in ensuring that a clean and updated voter roll is maintained, is the verification and removal of deceased voters which is a legislative requirement under the Electoral (Registration of Voters) Act.

Deceased voters are only removed upon confirmation from the next of kin. This may limit the removal of deceased persons depending on consistency of information provided from the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) Department.

Therefore, we are requesting family members, friends or members of communities to please inform us if there is someone on the voter roll who has passed away and should be removed.

This would greatly assist the FEO in ensuring that we capture the correct number of voters expected to turn up to cast their vote on Election Day.

The number of deceased voters indicated by the Births, Deaths and Marriages Department since 2012 is 38,519 and we matched 9,307 with our EVR data.

So far, we have removed a total of 13,380 deceased voters from the roll including 3,681 in 2018.

We do not want to remove people without getting confirmation from family members or the next of kin.

Having deceased voters on the Roll will also impact our voter turnout statistics as they will be counted in the percentage that would not have voted.

The FEO has a Confirmation of Deceased Voter Form available at all our Voter Services Centres Fiji wide, so we have made it simple for individuals to provide this vital information to us.

Ladies and gentlemen, as you would be aware, the registration of voters will cease on the day that the Writ of Election is issued.

Therefore eligible Fijians who still have not registered can still register.

Our Voter Services Centres around Fiji will continue to provide this service until such time as when the Writ is issued.

The Fijian Elections Office is also finalising logistics around the Overseas Voter Registration Drive which begins on the 15th of this month.

We are still receiving Expressions of Interest from eligible Fijians who wish to register for the 2018 General Election.

This may very well be the last opportunity that the FEO has to register voters overseas and so we encourage interested persons to get in touch with our office at the earliest.

Ladies and gentlemen, this Voter Roll is not final as the Fijian Elections Office will continue adjudication and verification of the Voter Roll until the Writ for the 2018 General Election is issued and that is when the National Register of Voters must be finalised.

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

Statement by the Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

2018 Overseas Voter Registration Drive

FEO HQ – 21 May, 2018

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem

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

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] plans to embark on another Overseas Voter Registration [OVR] Drive in June as part of our continuing preparations for the 2018 General Election.

This is possible due to the continuing calendar of Parliament which has presented the FEO with an opportunity to engage in this round of overseas voter registrations and conduct awareness for our voters overseas.

Currently, our OVR teams are being planned to visit Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America between the 15th and the 30th of June 2018.

We have once again requested the assistance of the Fiji Missions in the respective countries through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help in reaching out to the Fijian communities in these countries to help us identify locations where there is a demand for voter services.

Individuals/communities community reps can also directly contact EVR Coordinator Litia Sema on litia.sema@feo.org.fj and +679 9002292 to register their interest.

The mandatory requirement to achieve registration is production of a valid Fiji Passport.

The FEO will also accept Certificate of Citizenship for registration for those who may not have received their Fiji Passport yet.

During the last overseas registration drive, our teams managed to provide services to 2900 voters overseas including 696 new registrations.

Voters registered overseas will only be able to vote through postal voting in the 2018 General Election.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

Statement by the Deputy Supervisor of Elections

Ms Karyl Winter
Indelible Ink Handover
FEO Warehouse – 10 May, 2018

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very warm welcome to this handover ceremony this morning ladies and gentlemen.

As you all know that the General Election will be held later this year and we at the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] are doing everything we can to ensure that our preparations are up to par.

Ladiesand gentlemen, this handover ceremony ispart of our readiness and we are very thankful to the Indian Government and the Indian High Commission for their assistance in providing us with indelible ink.

Indelible ink also known as electoral ink, phosphoric ink is a semi-permanent ink that is applied to the index finger or little finger on the left hand of voters during elections in a bid to prevent electoral fraud such as double voting.

Indelible ink is made of a chemical compound called silver nitrate. When applied to the skin and exposed to ultraviolet light, it leaves a mark that is almost impossible to wash off.

Our Polling Day Workers check the fingers of voters before they walk into the Polling Station on Election Day and if they are found to have their fingers marked already, they would be requested to leave as it would mean they have already voted.

Ladies and gentlemen, those voters whose fingers do not have any marks on their fingers are allowed to enter the polling station where their ID and details will be checked and they will be issued with a ballot paper.

They will proceed to a cardboard voting screen where they will mark their ballot paper and then move on to the next station where the inking official will mark the index finger or little finger of the voter by dipping it in the ink bottle.

After that, the voter will drop his/her marked ballot paper in the ballot box and exit the polling station.

That is basically a run through of a polling station and how the indelible ink will be used on the day of election.

Ladies and gentlemen those voters who cast their ballot through pre-poll will also have their fingers marked after they have placed their marked ballot paper inside the secret envelope.

Having such measures as the indelible ink to ensure there is no double voting is essential as it puts faith in the system we have that there will be no room for rigging or manipulation of the system.

 

The mark on the voters finger is a matter of pride for the voter as a voter discharged his/her responsibility to the nation and to themselves for the next four years.

Every voter should carry the indelible ink marked finger with national pride as it is a sign of loyalty and patriotism.

Ladies and gentlemen, an election is not only about politicians and political parties campaigning against each other to form a government but it is more about instilling national pride and ownership every person who marks a vote on Election Day demonstrates their love affection and ownership to a country in which they live in.

Indelible Ink used in the Fijian electoral process acts as a confirmation of a vote but on the flip side allows the FEO and the political parties to verify and ensure that a person only votes once in our election.

This is critical considering every polling place caters for a maximum of 500 voters.

As highlighted in previous observer reports, we would like to ensure that there is no double voting or turn out in excess of registered voters at a polling venue.

Ladies and gentlemen, Fijian elections stands at a point where there is very high levels of reconciliation and accountability at both polling station level and national level and this gives voters the added security and confidence in the electoral system.

The FEO has benefitted widely from trainings and capacity building programs as well as invites to various international forums conducted in India and the assistance through provision of Indelible Ink, for which India is renowned for, is highly appreciated.

With those few words ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much for your attendance here today.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

Statement by the Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

Political Funding

3pm – FEO HQ – Suva

Bula Vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen and thank you very much for accepting our invitation.

As we are all aware, 2018 is Election year and as we progress towards the General Election, the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] is noting an increased number of announcements by Political Parties as well as expressions by individuals in the interest of taking up candidate positions in the Election.

We would like to make it clear that until and unless the Writ is issued and Nominations are received, no one is a Fijian Elections Office approved candidate. We have noted that various Parties have advertised provisional candidates, however I would like to clarify that there’s no such thing as an official provisional candidate in the law.

Nevertheless, ladies and gentlemen, following the announcement of various persons, various Parties are now picking up in terms of their funding raising activities and it is the Fijian Elections Office responsibility to highlight to the general public as well as interested persons and Parties the rules and the legal framework around Political Funding.

It is important to highlight at this point that following the General Audit of all Political Parties by the Office of the Auditor General, a common feature in reports for most of the Parties is that there is a lack of tracking in terms of records of revenue obtained by the Party.

This is because there are – at some occasions due to the nature of the Political Parties – monies received by individuals who are maybe provisional candidates as announced by the Parties, and as such they may receive money, carry out funding and not issue receipts from the Party or even themselves.

This is of course a problem when it comes to an individual because in one financial year, a person is only allowed to donate up to $10,000 to either one party or to many Parties up to a maximum of $10,000 only.

In that regard, if the person does not have receipts for monies donated, the individual may find themselves in some legal problems in the event the FEO receives a complaint, and is investigated.

Therefore, I will now read out the relevant provisions from the Political Parties Act to assist individuals, Party Agents, Party Officials and Political Parties themselves – in understanding the Political Funding framework so that the 2018 General Election in terms of political funding for them – is proper.

I would also like to mention that on page 12 [Section 3.2] of the Multinational Observer Group [MOG] Report, the MOG found that the Political Funding reporting requirements in Fiji were consistent with international best practice and therefore I urge all Parties, persons and individuals to comply with the relevant provisions regarding Political Funding and ensure that necessary declarations and disclosures are made as per the requirements of the law.

Thank you.

Statement by Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

Election Officials Continuous Engagement Programme

Suva – 28th April, 2018 – 11:00am

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem

Bula vinaka members of the media and thank you for attending this media briefing.

For the past few weeks, the Fijian Elections Office has been engaged with the signing of contracts for Election Officials for the 2018 General Election.

At this stage, there are 5,681 Election Officials who have signed their contracts while 3,547 are left to sign. Persons who have not signed are urged to come over to our venues in the respective Divisions where your contracts are ready for signing.

We have come to a stage where the FEO is now able to activate our Election Officials Continuous Engagement Programme.

This is an effort to maintain our link and partnership with individuals who will be working on Election Day and in pre-polling.

From Wednesday, 2nd May until Saturday 5th May 2018, we will be providing 2018 General Election Manuals for Election Officials. These are the Presiding Officers Manual and the Polling Day Workers Manual.

These manuals are a vital resource for persons who will be working on Election Day to deliver the 2018 General Election. They contain the necessary instructions on what Election Officials are expected to do in their specific roles within the Polling Venues.

The manuals have been designed as a comprehensive guide on conducting polling, reconciliation of ballot papers and counting of votes at every polling venue.

We urge all Election Officials to read their manuals in their own time so that they don’t forget their training. You will also be able to brush up on your knowledge once the Election Date is announced.

We have published on our website and facebook pages – the list of venues for the Central, Western and Northern Division where Election Officials can collect their copies of the manual.

We will be based in all towns and cities in the two main islands while a team will be in Taveuni. Our staff will also set up in heavily populated areas such as Nakasi and Seaqaqa.

The Fijian Elections Office will also be providing Election Official Packages or Goodie Bags containing promotional items for the 2018 General Election.

Those who turn up to receive their packages will be eligible for an allowance of $15. This allowance is NOT deducted from your final pay.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Continuous Engagement Programme applies to all Election Officials who have signed their contracts.

In order to receive their packages, Election Officials must present a copy of their signed contracts to our teams.

For individuals who have been contacted by the FEO, but have not signed their contracts, this is the perfect opportunity to sign up and receive your Election Officials package. These persons will also be eligible for the $15 allowance.

We look forward to seeing our Election Officials at these venues.

Vinaka

Statement by Acting Director Strategic Development & Communications

Mr. Edwin Nand

Election Officials Contract Signing Deadline Extension

29th March, 2018 – 3.00pm

FEO HQ – Suva

Bula vinaka members of the media.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce today that we are extending the deadline for the contract signing for Elections Officials who will be working during the 2018 General Election.

Elections Officials who have not signed their contract yet now have until the 7th of April, 2018 to do so.

So far ladies and gentlemen, a total of 3,288 Elections Officials have signed their contract from March 6 to March 28, 2018.

To make it easier for Elections Officials, we have printed contracts and distributed them to the respective Divisional Offices for signing by the applicants.

Looking at the breakdown, a total of 1300 Elections Officials have signed in the Central Division, 638 in the Western Division, 1059 in the Northern Division and 291 in the Eastern Division.

We thank those Elections Officials who have taken their time to visit our offices nationwide to sign their contracts.

While this is a high number, we still have 4,110 Elections Official who are yet to sign their contracts.

2874 Elections Officials have not signed their contracts in the Central Division, 714 in the Western Division, 452 in the Northern Division and 70 in the Eastern Division.

Given that a total of 1435 Polling Venues need to be staffed in preparation for the 2018 General Election, we are encouraging Elections Officials who are yet to sign, to please do so before April 7th.

In the event an Election Official does not sign their contract by the deadline, another Election Official from the reserve list will be allocated to the position which would result in one person missing out on the opportunity to be part of the staffing requirements for the 2018 General Election.

Successful applicants are being notified via SMS of their assigned venue of contract signing and our teams are making follow up calls to these individuals on their mobile phones.

We have been advised that the biggest challenge right now is contacting applicants whose mobile phones are switched off or diverted.

We will also advertise in both the daily newspapers the venues and locations where Elections Officials can go to sign their contracts from Tuesday 03 April, until Saturday 07 April 2018.

For those who are yet to sign their contracts, it is important to know that if you change your address, mobile phone number or any other personal details, you must inform the nearest FEO office as soon as possible.

We will need this information to confirm that you are assigned to an appropriate Polling Venue on Election Day and to ensure that there are no implications in salary payment following the end of your contract.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are also in the process of informing those applicants who failed to meet our criteria that their applications have not been successful.

Vinaka.

Statement by Acting Director Strategic Development and Communications

Mr Edwin Nand

Know Your Election Awareness Deployment for Corporate Organisations

FEO HQ – 22 March, 2018

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

This morning I am pleased to announce the expansion of the Know Your Elections Awareness program to business houses.

The Know Your Elections awareness program that was initially started on the 15th of March, has been successfully running in the rural areas so far.

In light of the fact that there is a huge group of population of the country that work in the business community as well as organizational set ups, the Fijian Elections Office would now wish to expand its awareness drive into directly creating awareness into these organisations.

We are therefore urging the heads of various organisations, business communities as well as any pockets where there is a population of voters to contact the Fijian Elections Office so that we can organize to have an awareness created at your organization.

We urge all such employers to consider the corporate social responsibility and particularly in terms of capacity building of employees when it comes to matters of national interest and we urge you to make an appointment with our team to allow our teams to come and provide voter services and at the same time create awareness amongst your staff about the upcoming general election.

The Know Your Election program and the voter awareness drive is an apolitical exercise and the Fijian Elections Office invites all employers to contact us without delay.

You may contact us on the following details:

For the Central Division – Akuila Vakaloloma on 8022305 or akuila.vakaloloma@feo.org.fj or Anish Narayan on 8917230 or anish.narayan@feo.org.fj;

For the Western Division – Kinisalote Drasuna on 8914414 or kinisalote.drasuna@feo.org.fj;

For the Northern Division – Taniela Lebaivalu on 8914558 or taniela.lebaivalu@feo.org.fj;

For the Eastern Division – Maretino Atonio on 8914516 or maretino.atonio@feo.org.fj.

Thank you very much for your time ladies and gentlemen.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Mr Suresh Chandra

Know Your Election Awareness Campaign Launch

GPH – Suva – 14th March, 2018 – 9.00am

The Electoral Commission with the Supervisor of Elections at the unveiling of the Election Information Booklet

Fellow Electoral Commissioners, Representatives of the Diplomatic Corp, The Supervisor of Elections, Distinguished Invited Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen.

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

Ladies and gentlemen, this morning, we launch a nationwide voter awareness campaign called ‘Know Your Election’ that will run for six weeks.

While we do not know the date of election yet, we want to be prepared ourselves and we want the voters to be educated and knowledgeable before a date is announced.

Voter education is a major contribution to electoral integrity. The ‘Know Your Election’ campaign will disseminate balanced, non-partisan and objective information on what voters need to know in order to exercise their right to vote.

The Fijian Elections Office has produced the Election Information Booklet which provides information on voters’ rights and obligations in the electoral process and explains the importance and process of voting.

Voters need to be educated about the electoral process to help them become an informed voter and every Fijian Voter should have at least perused through one Election Information Booklet before they reach the polling station.

At the least, we want the voter to have read page 17 which details how to mark a ballot paper correctly. That is either circle, or cross or tick one box on the ballot paper.

It is not just about the politics or the political rhetoric. It is about the voter independently being able to make a selection based on factual information.

It is about a voter knowing HOW TO DEAL with a ballot paper and HOW IMPORTANT THE DEAL with the ballot paper is before dropping it in the ballot box.

It is about dealing with the nervousness that comes around selection. It comes around the voters conscious and it is also about the voter thinking about the future.

The Vote that is cast on the day of elections matters for the next four years or maybe thereafter. But it is more crucial for those four years.

A vote that a voter casts on that day goes to a politician and political party but impacts the nation.

The Voter should not be threatened, intimidated or unduly influenced but rather should make a conscious decision based on their own analysis and preference.

No one should dictate to a voter how the preference should or can be made. There are many preferred ways but we are not going to get into that.

What we want to do is that once the Voter has made their mind they should have enough capacity to translate that thought or choice into the election result.

It is not for a politician for then to assume that – ‘yes this is a voter who is my son and walked into a polling station and he will voter for me’.

That is why we create such a systematic platform that once a voter is inside a polling station, they are devoid of any relationship, connection or bond.

They are able to walk to a cardboard voting screen, free from all the pressure and tension, directly with their ballot paper and themselves, mark their vote, fold their ballot paper, ink their finger and decide for the country.

That is what the voter does.

Inside a polling station is an atmosphere of calm, peacefulness, and quiet so that once the voter has decided to venture into making a decision for the country, no external factor can control the voter but the voters own thoughts and preferences.

Ladies and gentlemen, at the end of this campaign, registered voters, potential voters and members of the public should know;

  • The role of the Fijian Elections Office;
  • The role of the Electoral Commission;
  • The Electoral system;
  • About Voter registration;
  • About the Methods of voting;
  • About how the Counting of Ballot Papers is conducted;
  • About the Declaration of Results; and
  • About the Allocation of seats.

Before I conclude ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce that the Electoral Commission has set a theme for the election this year:

The 2018 General Election is a platform for Fijians to express their will with confidence, security and freedom.

To the people, we want you to know and understand that this is your election. Be confident when making a choice on the ballot paper. We will ensure you have no reason to feel insecure. And you are free to make your own decisions.

Thank you, Vinaka Vakalevu and Dhanyabadh.

…ends…

Statement by Acting Director

Strategic Development and Communications

Mr Edwin Nand

Know Your Election Awareness Campaign Launch GPH

Suva – 14th March 2018 – 9.00am

Acting Director Strategic Development and Communications, Mr Edwin Nand

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Electoral Commissioners, Representatives of the Diplomatic Corp, The Supervisor of Elections, Distinguished Invited Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen.

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

Ladies and gentlemen, this morning, we would like to introduce to you the Election Information Booklet.

This Booklet is a vital resource for anyone who will be involved with the 2018 General Election and as such, we have printed 400,000 copies. Our intention is that every eligible voter should have their own copy by the end of the awareness drive.

Through our awareness teams, we will distribute the Election Information Booklet in every village, community, settlement and to schools students who are or will be eligible to vote in the 2018 General Election.

Taking into consideration the multi-cultural background of Fiji, we have translated the book into iTaukei, Hindi, Rotuman, Chinese and Banaban languages.

The Key focus areas of the Booklet are ‘How to Vote’, ‘Where to Vote’ and ‘When to Vote’. We urge all voters to get their copy, read it, learn about the electoral processes and be fully prepared come election time.

We prepared the booklet with the Fijian people in mind and we wanted it be accurate, apolitical and as informative as possible focusing on our electoral system.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Booklet will be inserted into the two newspapers this Saturday, we have electronic copies available at fijielects2018.org.fj/eib and they will be placed in all mailboxes and all our staff in all four Divisions will be out in the streets on Saturday, handing out the Booklets to every Fijian.

Ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you the 2018 Election Information Booklet.

Ends.

 Statement by Voter Services Coordinator

Mr Aisake Saukawa

Know Your Election Awareness Campaign Launch

GPH – Suva – 14th March, 2018 – 9.00am

Voter Services Center Coordinator – Mr Aisake Suakawa

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Electoral Commissioners, Representatives of the Diplomatic Corp, The Supervisor of Elections, Distinguished Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

This morning, we launch this ‘2018 Know Your Election’ Awareness Campaign to educate and inform all Fijian Voters on the Electoral Process.

As such, we have developed this awareness campaign where FEO Voter Awareness Assistants will be visiting all communities, settlements and villages around the country.

During these visits, we aim to provide information on voters’ rights and obligations in the electoral process and explain the importance and process of voting.

Ladies and gentlemen, there will be 45 Voter Awareness teams which will consist of 3 VAA & a Driver per team. They have been trained and will be deployed from tomorrow, travelling quite extensively nation-wide for the next six weeks.

On display today before you ladies & gentlemen are the 3D model of a Polling Station, flipcharts, the Election Information Booklet and awareness material that will be used by the teams during the campaign.

The main tool which will be used to inform and educate voters is the Election Information Booklet which has been translated into the Hindustani, Chinese, Banaban, Itaukei & Rotuman languages so that Fijians all over the country are able to read and understand its content at their leisure.

We have targeted locations which are central to a community, settlement or village and have solicited the assistance of Turaga ni Koro’s, District Advisory Councilors and community leaders to inform their residents of this awareness session when our teams visit the locations. This information has already been disseminated to all communities through pocket meetings conducted by FEO Divisional Teams with DAC members and Turaga Ni Koro and using the wider network of Provincial Council office and Provincial Administrators/District Officers office. This information has also been advertised in the newspaper and will be circulated widely on all media platforms available. FEO will continue to advertise the Awareness Schedule on a weekly basis for the next 6 weeks.

Ladies and gentlemen, we will be starting our campaign tomorrow and in doing so adhering to the roll out strategy of “Rural to Urban Approach”.

This awareness campaign is an apolitical exercise simply concerned with informing voters and potential voters to make an informed decision when they turn up to a polling station to mark their ballot paper.

Ladies and gentlemen, during this campaign, our teams will also provide Voter Services so if you have not registered yet, do not worry, we will come to you and you can register.

If you have lost or misplaced your VoterCard and need replacement cards or need to change details on your Card, we encourage you to inform our team and they will assist you.

There will also be surveys would be conducted and then analyzed to determine the strengths, weaknesses and learning outcomes of the Know Your Election Awareness Campaign.

In conclusion I wish to mention FEOs heartfelt appreciation to all stakeholders who have contributed in many ways to the pre-roll out planning exercise and we look forward to getting this message as wide and as far as possible, to every Fijian nationwide.

Thank you very much and Vinaka Vakalevu.

…ends…

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Mr Suresh Chandra

Voting Screen Handover

Suva – 09/03/2018

The CEO of New Zealand Electoral Commission,

The New Zealand High Commissioner,

My fellow Electoral Commissioners

Distinguished invited guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very warm welcome to you all.

Thank you very much for accepting our invitation. May I also take this opportunity to warmly welcome our guest from New Zealand.

Alicia – Welcome to Suva.

Ladies and gentlemen, this morning we have the pleasure to host the Chief Electoral Officer from New Zealand. It is very humbling to see Alicia take time out from her very busy schedule and visit us to officially hand over the Cardboard Voting Screens to the Fijian Elections Office.

We have already received 15,015 voting screens properly packed in boxes and protective plastic. Each polling station will receive 1 box which is made up of 4 ‘pizza boxes’ and 1 disability friendly voting screen.

There have been a few tweaks to the cardboard screens to prepare for wet environment. We have a proper sustainability plan for them as well so we can use the same for future elections.

Since the polling station setup in the 2018 General Election will be the same as the 2014 General Election, we are sure voters will find greater comfort in exercising their right.

As we prepare to conduct the second General Election under the 2013 Constitution, the Electoral Commission and the Fijian Elections Office are thankful for all the support from our partner agencies.

Support, through donations – either monetary terms, in kind, technical expertise or any form of assistance, will not only contribute towards our operations but towards the development of our country as a whole.

Ladies and gentlemen, we want the 2018 General Election to be a platform for Fijians to express their will with confidence, security and freedom. In fact, the Electoral Commission has adopted this as our theme heading into the polls – and we are committed to ensuring that it is translated into action.

We are confident that the support we have received from New Zealand will greatly contribute towards realizing our goals.

Last year ladies and gentlemen, the Electoral Commission and the FEO participated in the New Zealand Electoral Commission 2017 Election Visitor Program for the 2017 New Zealand Elections.

That was a good learning experience for the Commission and a great opportunity to observe first-hand the conduct of an election in New Zealand.

It allowed us to see the processes involved, the organization and landscape of conducting events during an election from a different perspective. We are thankful to the New Zealand Electoral Commission for facilitating our visit last year.

With those few words ladies and gentlemen, I thank you all for your attendance.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

Vote of Thanks by the Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

Voting Screen Handover

Suva – 09/03/2018

The CEO of New Zealand Electoral Commission,

Chairperson and members of the Electoral Commission

The New Zealand High Commissioner,

Distinguished invited guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula Vinaka to you all.

Today I would like to start by once again thanking Alicia for accepting our invitation. It is a pleasure to have you in Fiji. We were certainly looking forward to have the Chief Electoral Officer from New Zealand arrive in Fiji before the 2018 General Election.

It’s always encouraging for my team to receive a personality from another electoral management body, a much larger and established electoral management body.

It is always a boost for our morale as well as for the energy in the office to be in your company. So once again, welcome to the Fijian Elections Office.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the New Zealand assistance to the 2014 General Election was considerable. We had several Technical Advisors on the ground here at the FEO and they helped develop and manage so many processes to allow us to run a credible election.

In 2014, New Zealand also provided us with these cardboard voting screens. That was the first time in Fiji, voters voted in an open and conducive environment rather than tall wooden triangular structures covered behind curtains. I believe an open polling station where one can see everything going on was the first appreciation of the high level of voter satisfaction in 2014.

Immediately after the review and reporting phase in 2014, the New Zealand Electoral Commission invited us to Wellington for a series of discussions and familiarization programs with the operations of the NZEC and elections in New Zealand generally.

Significant discussions took place on our plans for the next 4 years and how the FEO was planning to develop capacity and its systems and processes to enhance electoral practices in the country.

I had many many plans and the visit allowed me to visualize many of them for Fiji. There was no going backwards from there, it was only forward, only better, more efficient and with a bit of Fijian flavor.

We secured a 5 year support and assistance program for the Electoral Commission and the Fijian Elections Office. This comprehensive support program allowed the FEO to access capacity building programs through study visits, election visitor programs, regional events collaboration and also technical support to allow us direct access to experienced, skilled election professionals nearly one a week.

Ladies and gentlemen, these elections professionals are committed and dedicated individuals that work very closely with our staff together as a family.

We haven’t had a situation where someone says to us that ‘I’m just a consultant’, and we are proud of that. Our Technical Advisors have always ensured that they mix around with the staff, provide the necessary guidance and at the same time provide that level of expectations that staff make sure that delivers the requirements.

To assist with the 2018 General Election, we asked if the NZEC could once again assist us with the Cardboard Voting Screens and they humbly agreed.

I am sure that on Election Day in Fiji, Fijian voters will see the white cardboard voting screens in every Polling Station they visit.

A special appreciated to the New Zealand Electoral Commission as well in terms of the design that they have for they cover for persons with disability or for person who cannot get to a voting screen.

There is a disability friendly voting screen that can be taken outside the polling station and placed on the lap of a voter or on a table outside incase the voter cannot come in.

This is a very inclusive design and we are greatly appreciative of the sharing that the New Zealand Electoral Commission has done with us and every box that you see, has one disability friendly voting screen. So every polling station will have that voting screen to assist with voting for persons with disabilities particularly for those who cannot come inside.

I would like to thank all our guests who have accepted our invitation and are in attendance at this event. We look forward to your continued participation in our future events.

I would like to thank the New Zealand Government for its interest in developing electoral capacity in Fiji. The support program has indeed been positive for both our country and the team here at the FEO.

I would also like to thank Alicia, Diedre, Robert, and the team at NZEC for their continued commitment and dedication to this program. We are proud of the friends we have made in the last 4 years.

Thank you Alicia once again for your visit and we hope you enjoy your short stay with us and thank you for the voting screens.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

Statement by Director Corporate Services

Mr Sanjeshwar Ram

Election Officials Contract Signing Ceremony

10am, FEO HQ

Fellow Department Directors

The Invited guest

Fellow colleagues

Members of the media

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this very important function today.  A very special welcome to the 14 Election Officials.

Today is indeed a significant day for the FEO since you will witness the contract signing of the first batch of the Election Officials for 2 polling stations.

The recruitment drive began in August last year Fiji wide in two phases. The recruitment was conducted through a computer based test. In order to deliver the 2018 General election successfully, the FEO needed around 12,000 election officials. At the conclusion of the recruitment drive the FEO had secured 17,016 applicants.

The positions available for the 2018 General Elections include Presiding Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers, Polling Day Workers and Venue Queue Controllers.

Training has also been conducted for those who were successful in their applications. I am pleased to inform you that as of yesterday, we have trained 11,092 applicants as Election Officials and 3,708 as Presiding and Assistant Presiding Officers.

There have been issues faced during this process. We still have over 500 Elections Officials who have not been paid their $45 training allowance due to incorrect bank details and unavailability of tax identification numbers (TIN).

Efforts to contact these applicants have been futile as their mobile phones were diverted. We have over 1,400 Election Officials who have attended the PO and APO training and have yet to be paid their $75 allowances due to lack of information supplied such as bank details, FNPF numbers and TIN.

We are in the process of contacting these applicants to furnish us with these documents however, we are hindered because their mobile phones are diverted.

Over 800 Election Officials who are eligible for training could not be contacted.

Details of these category of applicants will be posted on the FEO website and Facebook page. Applicants who fall in this category are urged to visit the nearest Fijian Elections Office and provide us with these documents or call us on Toll free number 1501.

Please note that those who fail to submit these important documents, won’t be considered for any Election Official position for the 2018 General Election.

The FEO has now successfully allocated 1,312 polling stations.

We are now in the process of printing contracts and distributing them to the respective Divisional Offices for signing by the applicants. This process starts today and will continue until 23 March, 2018. Successful applicants will be receiving an SMS on their mobile phones advising them of the time and venue to sign their contracts.

Those who failed to meet our Election Officials selection criteria, will also be informed in the next 2 weeks that their applications have been unsuccessful.

For those of you who will be signing contracts from today, it is important to know that if you change your address or any other personal details, you must inform the nearest FEO office as soon as possible.

We will need this information to confirm that you are assigned to an appropriate polling venue on Election Day and to ensure that there are no hiccups in payment following the end of your contract.

On behalf of the Supervisor of Elections I wish to congratulate all of you who have been successful in your application for the various positions. Now the focus will be on you to work very closely with the FEO in order to deliver a successful and credible election.

And do remember that the 2018 General Election is a platform for the Fijians to express their will with confidence, security and freedom.

Vinaka.

FEO Directors with Confirmed Election Officials for 2018 General Elections

28/02/18

 

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                                        For Immediate Release

Statement by the Supervisor of Elections

This is to inform the general Public that the People’s Democratic Party has adequately complied with the law and is no longer subject to the deregistration process under the Act.

-Ends-

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

Mr. Ashwin Raj, Chairperson of Media Industry Development Authority

Mr. Vasu Mohan, IFES

Mr. Stanley Simpson, from the Fiji Media Association

Facilitators of the workshop from IFES

Distinguished personnel from the media.

Bula Vinaka and goodmorning to you all.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fijian Elections Office and the Media Industry Development Authority have collaborated to bring to Fiji this International training for media on elections that is run by International Foundation for Election Systems [IFES in short]. This media workshop has been conducted by IFES in various countries previously and I am sure it will have relevance and applicability to Fiji.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as the election management body, the FEO’s main interest lies in providing the voter with the most accurate electoral information free from politicization and bias. The voter deserves to receive information that has factual backing and can be subjected to verification.

In 2014, MIDA had conducted a training on election reporting for the media. During the 2014 General Election, the media was excellent. Media organizations took care and responsibility to ensure that voters are provided the most accurate information relating to the process.

Ladies and Gentlemen, recently Fiji received a visit from the UN Commissioner on Human Rights. I have received a copy of a statement he made before left in which he made some UN type remark on the FEO. I was surprised that this person chose to make conclusions about the Fijian Elections Office without meeting us. We also were not asked to provide any information in writing to help him understand the FEO.

I am hoping that this information helps the media to understand the legal platform for elections in Fiji:

  1. The Electoral Commission

The Electoral Commission is a Constitutional Office established under section 75 of the Constitution. The Electoral Commission is required to oversee the conduct of elections in Fiji in accordance with the legal framework in place. The Electoral Commission makes its own operating procedures. In various electoral procedures, the Electoral Commission is the final decision maker.

  1. The Fijian Elections Office

The Fijian Elections Office is an independent election management body responsible for the conduct of General Elections and other elections in accordance with the legal framework. The Fijian Elections Office is the Office of the Supervisor of Elections and is situated at 59 High Street, Toorak, Suva. The Fijian Elections Office has 60 core staff and employs upto 400 part-time staff during elections.

As per section 6 of the Electoral Act, the Supervisor of Elections has complete independence to determine the composition of the Fijian Elections Office. The Supervisor of Elections has the authority to determine the remuneration, the terms and conditions of employment and the recruitment procedure as well as the disciplinary processes at the Fijian Elections Office.

It is a requirement under section 7 that the Supervisor must conduct his duties and exercise his powers in an impartial manner and in accordance with the law. Section 8 of the Electoral Act further guarantees that in the performance of his or her functions and the exercise of his or her powers, the Supervisor is not subject to the direction or control by any person, except that he or she must comply with the directions or instructions that the Electoral Commission gives him or her concerning the performance of his or her functions; and a decision of a court of law exercising its jurisdiction in relation to a question on whether he or she has performed the functions or exercised the powers in accordance with the Constitution and the law, or whether he or she should or should not perform those functions or exercise those powers.

 Section 9 of the Electoral Act further requires that the Fijian Elections Office shall be an independent office which must be properly staffed and equipped to perform its duties and functions in accordance with the Constitution and this Act, with such organisational structure, key positions and authorities, as approved by the Supervisor. The Fijian Elections Office has full autonomy to open as many sub-offices as it may require.

Section 11(4) of the Electoral Act has established for the very first time that the state and local government officials must not be appointed as heads of divisional or district electoral sub offices. The law very clearly requires all state agencies to provide the Fijian Elections Office with the necessary support to facilitate an election. It makes it very clear that in providing the support, these agencies must rely on their own budgetary support rather than the Fijian Elections Office.

Section 13 of the Electoral Act has very clearly outlined the impartiality and non-partisanship framework. It states that the members of the Electoral Commission, the Supervisor, and all election officials, including employees, agents and contractors of the Fijian Elections Office, must conduct their duties and functions and exercise their powers with utmost impartiality, in compliance with the law and the Constitution, and without regard to any political or personal factor. Section 13(2) states that the members of the Electoral Commission, the Supervisor, and all election officials, including employees, agents and contractors of the Fijian Elections Office, are not entitled to undertake any political or campaign activities at any time during the period of their appointment, employment or contract with the Electoral Commission or the Fijian Elections Office. The legal framework specifically requires that election officials must refrain from any decision that would raise a conflict of interest.

Section 15 of the Electoral Act has explicitly required that Parliament allocate sufficient financial resources from the State budget for the timely and effective performance of the functions and powers of the Fijian Elections Office. The budget submission mechanism is based on the election cycle approach that is widely considered as an election best practice. Section 16 of the Act empowers the Supervisor of Elections by granting him complete control on the procurements and usage of the budget of the Fijian Elections Office. The legal framework has allowed the Fijian Elections Office to establish its own procurement system suitable for election related activities.

 The Electoral Act, in section 17, establishes an electoral complaints handling procedure that permits the electoral system to deal with election related complaints. This is another election good practice as it ensure election related complaints, some of which may be technical in nature, are dealt with expeditiously.

  1. Protection of Offices under the Constitution

The Electoral Commission and the Supervisor of Elections are Constitutional institutions. The Supervisor of Elections is required to comply with the directions of the Electoral Commission. The tenure of office for Electoral Commissioners is 3 years and the Supervisor of Election can be appointed for a term of upto 5 years as provided under section 135 of the Constitution.

Section 136 of the Constitution protects office holders from persecution through protection of the remuneration. According to section 136, salaries of persons holding such offices can only be reduced as part of general austerity reduction similarly applicable to all offices of the State.

The Constitution also protects office holders from arbitrary loss of office. Section 137 of the Constitution requires that an independent office of enquiry is setup. The minimum membership of this tribunal is 3 and it is a requirement that out of the 3 members, one has to be qualified to be appointed a Judge. The tribunal is required to provide a report to the President with its recommendation.

  1. The 2014 General Election

The Fijian Elections Office conducted the 2014 General Election under the current legal framework. The Multinational Observer Group Report on the 2014 General Election found that the legal framework in Fiji was sufficient for the conduct of credible and legitimate elections in Fiji. [Page 7]

The Multinational Observer Group also found that the Electoral Commission and the FEO were competent, professional and committed in performing their duties. [Page 9] It was also found that the Funding regulations for political parties were within the range of common international practices. In 2014, there were no instances where applications for accreditation by the media were refused. At page 21 of the Report the Multinational Observer Group found that the recruitment process of election time staff  “appears to have been open and merit-based, and included literacy and numeracy tests, police checks, and a requirement to be non-partisan. This process was broadly consistent with international best practice.”

The Multinational Observer Group “noted the admirable effort by the FEO to reach out to voters in geographically isolated areas and through door-to-door awareness activities in informal settlements.” [page 22] Observers reported that “polling stations were generally well organized and operated efficiently. Observers commended polling staff on their professionalism and flexibility in problem-solving.”

It is noteworthy to highlight the conclusion of the Multinational Observer Group in its report which states “The FEO and election workers were competent, professional and committed in performing their duties, sometimes under challenging circumstances.

  1. Regional and International involvement of the Fijian Elections Office

The Fijian Elections Office has full autonomy to expand its capacities through collaboration and partnership agreements with international and regional organizations. Since the 2014 General Election, the Fijian Elections Office has participated in election observation missions in Tonga (2017), Papua New Guinea (2017), Vanuatu (2016) and the Supervisor of Elections was lead the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Election Observer Mission to the General Election for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in 2015.

The Fijian Elections Office co-hosted that first ever Pacific Regional Dialogue on Disabilities in 2016 in partnership with International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) and the Pacific Islands Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators Network. This Dialogue was the first of its kind in the region which created a platform for discussions relating to disability and elections between senior management of Election Management bodies and representatives of disability organizations.

The Fijian Elections Office holds executive/ advisory positions in the Commonwealth Electoral Network, the Pacific Islands Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators Network and is an executive board member for the Oceania region in the Association of World Electoral Bodies (AWEB), which has total membership of 106 election management bodies from around the world.

Since its establishment, the Fijian Elections Office has executed Memorandum of Understanding for mutual collaboration and capacity development with the Australian Electoral Commission, New Zealand Electoral Commission, Indian Electoral Commission, Indonesian Electoral Commission, Central Elections Commission of the Russian Federation and the National Election Commission of Korea.

Ladies and Gentlemen, here we have a classic case of a flyby where the maker of the statement fell victim to bias, probably politically influenced statements to be drawn by some as the ultimate conclusion on the matter. We have already seen how the unsubstantiated statement is being made a political football and being tossed around.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this incident also shows how important it is to do thorough research. This is an election year and I am sure you will come across event more controversial statements. I would urge that the people of Fiji who are the key stakeholder and the ultimate beneficiaries of the electoral process have a right to the most accurate information.

On behalf of the Electoral Commission and my colleagues at the FEO, I would like to wish you all the very best for this training. We hope the workshop has value in promoting better practices in your field of work and builds capacity in dealing with reporting on elections.

Vinaka vakalevu.

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Mr Suresh Chandra

SMS Polling Venue Locator Launch

Suva – 08 February, 2018 – 3.00pm

The Electoral Commision Chairperson, My Suresh Chandra at the SMS Polling Venue Locator Launch

Fellow Electoral Commissioners,

Technical Consultants from Overseas,

Representatives from Vodafone and Digicel,

Invited Guests,

Staff of the Fijian Elections Office,

Ladies and gentlemen;

Bula Vinaka and a very warm welcome to you all this afternoon.

Today’s launch is a continuation of efforts by the Electoral Commission and the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] to ensure that voters have pertinent information readily available to them.

Polling venue details published as early as February in an election year will allow the General Public ample time to be able to firstly know where they are going to vote.

Secondly, in the event they would like to have it changed, make the necessary applications with the FEO in time for elections.

The important part is that members of the public have to take responsibility to ensure that they have done the necessaries for themselves.

Election Management Bodies can only do so much as to tell you where you are currently placed and also give you an opportunity to be able to make changes to your registration details to enable you to vote at a place you feel is more convenient to you.

One of the basic tenets of a free and fair election is to allow convenience in voting, we recognize this and as such Fijians will be given the opportunity to decide where they want to vote and it is our duty to then make it happen.

The release of the voter list this early can only be possible with the fully functioning elections office throughout the term post-election.

We have recently noticed that uninformed persons and individuals are seeking explanation as to what an Election Management Body does post elections.

Congratulations Madam, Sir, here is one example. Voter registration is a continuing exercise and polling stations identification and arrangements are an ongoing exercise to ensure that when the election is called, voters have the latest details updated on the voter register.

At the same time, as many as necessary polling stations are available for them to vote in.

One cannot on one hand benefit from the information we have been regularly publishing and in the same breath, question why the documents have been prepared and what is the purpose of having it.

So ladies and gentlemen, I think it is a thing of the past to continue to argue the reasons for the continuation of the elections office post an election.

In fact, it is now an international move to try and promote the existence of an Election Management Body throughout an electoral cycle to ensure the electoral development and innovation as well as best practices are adopted and implemented as per the style of the country in all countries.

This only improves the standard of elections by affecting positively the standard of the democracy of the country.

Before I conclude, I want to also mention that as we are approaching the date on which Elections is announced, we have noted that the election plans are on par and that if there are no surprises along the way, the Electoral Commission expects the FEO to be ready as early as 1st of April and to wait for the announcement of a date for the General Election.

I urge all Fijians to please check their voting details and until April, you have a good amount of time to change your details and be ready with us to wait for the General Election.

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

…ends…

Statement by the Supervisor of Elections
Mr Mohammed Saneem
Presiding Officer’s Training Launch
FEO HQ – Suva – 07th February, 2018 – 8:00am

FEO Directors;
Presiding and Assistant Officers trainees;
Invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula Vinaka and a warm welcome to the Presiding Officers Training for the 2018 General Election.

Congratulations on your shortlisting to be the Polling station managers on Election Day or during Pre-poll. On the date of polling, you all will be the senior most election officials on the ground and in-charge of the polling place. This is a tremendous responsibility and we all believe that each of you have proven on merit that you are capable of the task.

I would like to thank all the FEO trainers for their excellent efforts these past couple of months training the 10,000 plus applicants and assessing them for the positions. So far we have run 546 training sessions.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this 1 day training is an essential component for preparing you to manage polling. It will prepare you for all the tasks that you have to undertake and also to administer. Do not underestimate the importance of any task. All of them are important. I repeat – all of them are important.

The Presiding Officers manual will be your guide and it will have all the answers you may have. It has been designed by experts and has stood the test of the 2014 General Election. For those who may be doing this a second time, we assure you that the contents of the manual have been thoroughly reviewed and comprehensively tested to allow users to implement smooth polling day operations.
If I were you, I would read this manual inside out as many times as possible to prepare myself for the task.

The 2014 General Election and the 2018 General Election pose an exciting opportunity to Fijians that we never had before – the opportunity to run the Country’s election ourselves.

Yes – ordinary Fijians now have the opportunity to be polling officials, counting officials, postal vote officials etc etc. So, when I submit the results to the Electoral Commission after the election – I will gladly tell them that I am here to deliver the final results from all polling stations around the country on behalf of some 15,000 Fijians. This is the will of the Fijian People!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we all must ensure that we work according to the Constitution, the laws and the Electoral Commission guidelines.
The team at FEO has transferred all the necessary legal requirements into the manuals for you. Use the manuals. Follow all instructions to the letter. Do not invent/ improvise the processes to suit yourself. There will be polling agents and observers that will be trained to check that you follow all the procedures.

I want to specially mention that every election official must ensure that they do not get influenced by external factors in conducting their tasks. Do not change the order of events just because you may have accessed social media and find that someone is questioning any process.

Actually you may find several individuals who may want to create false rumors and unsubstantiated claims just to earn sympathy and maybe even some votes. It is my and the FEO Communications team’s responsibility to deal with Public Relations matters.

Then there are some individuals who continue to rut and harp about the concept of ‘free and fair elections’ but deliberately ignore or even do not know the basic tenets of a free and fair election. They are full of complaints and unsubstantiated allegations. Then there are some who cook up stories about 2014 General Election or even make their own version of the election processes.

In terms of risk – the FEO has elevated misinformation to the highest risk level.

Therefore ladies and gentlemen, the onus is on each and everyone who is appointed election official to ensure that they follow the procedures to the letter. I urge you to be polite, tolerant and always produce the best of the best customer service personalities you can on the day.
Every Fijian must be given the best service – they deserve nothing less. Every vote is valuable and as officials from the Election Management Body, we must treat all voters equally and with dignity.
Remember that a voter at the polling station is the most important person in the country. Help anyone that seeks it. As the Returning Officer for the Country it is my vision that when a voter returns from a polling place he/she is happy and content that we have served them well.

I wish you all the very best in the training and look forward to working with you as we deliver the 2018 General Election.

Thank you, Vinaka Vakalevu and Dhanyabadh.

…ends…

Statement by the Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

Presiding Officer’s Training Launch

FEO HQ – Suva – 07th February, 2018 – 8:00am

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem

FEO Directors;

Presiding and Assistant Officers trainees;

Invited Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula Vinaka and a warm welcome to the Presiding Officers Training for the 2018 General Election.

Congratulations on your shortlisting to be the Polling station managers on Election Day or during Pre-poll. On the date of polling, you all will be the senior most election officials on the ground and in-charge of the polling place. This is a tremendous responsibility and we all believe that each of you have proven on merit that you are capable of the task.

I would like to thank all the FEO trainers for their excellent efforts these past couple of months training the 10,000 plus applicants and assessing them for the positions. So far we have run 546 training sessions.

Training commences for Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers

Ladies and Gentlemen, this 1 day training is an essential component for preparing you to manage polling. It will prepare you for all the tasks that you have to undertake and also to administer. Do not underestimate the importance of any task. All of them are important. I repeat – all of them are important.

The Presiding Officers manual will be your guide and it will have all the answers you may have. It has been designed by experts and has stood the test of the 2014 General Election. For those who may be doing this a second time, we assure you that the contents of the manual have been thoroughly reviewed and comprehensively tested to allow users to implement smooth polling day operations.

If I were you, I would read this manual inside out as many times as possible to prepare myself for the task.

The 2014 General Election and the 2018 General Election pose an exciting opportunity to Fijians that we never had before – the opportunity to run the Country’s election ourselves.

Yes – ordinary Fijians now have the opportunity to be polling officials, counting officials, postal vote officials etc etc. So, when I submit the results to the Electoral Commission after the election – I will gladly tell them that I am here to deliver the final results from all polling stations around the country on behalf of some 15,000 Fijians. This is the will of the Fijian People!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we all must ensure that we work according to the Constitution, the laws and the Electoral Commission guidelines.

The team at FEO has transferred all the necessary legal requirements into the manuals for you. Use the manuals. Follow all instructions to the letter. Do not invent/ improvise the processes to suit yourself. There will be polling agents and observers that will be trained to check that you follow all the procedures.

I want to specially mention that every election official must ensure that they do not get influenced by external factors in conducting their tasks. Do not change the order of events just because you may have accessed social media and find that someone is questioning any process.

Actually you may find several individuals who may want to create false rumors and unsubstantiated claims just to earn sympathy and maybe even some votes. It is my and the FEO Communications team’s responsibility to deal with Public Relations matters.

Then there are some individuals who continue to rut and harp about the concept of ‘free and fair elections’ but deliberately ignore or even do not know the basic tenets of a free and fair election. They are full of complaints and unsubstantiated allegations. Then there are some who cook up stories about 2014 General Election or even make their own version of the election processes.

In terms of risk – the FEO has elevated misinformation to the highest risk level.

Therefore ladies and gentlemen, the onus is on each and everyone who is appointed election official to ensure that they follow the procedures to the letter. I urge you to be polite, tolerant and always produce the best of the best customer service personalities you can on the day.

Every Fijian must be given the best service – they deserve nothing less. Every vote is valuable and as officials from the Election Management Body, we must treat all voters equally and with dignity.

Remember that a voter at the polling station is the most important person in the country. Help anyone that seeks it. As the Returning Officer for the Country it is my vision that when a voter returns from a polling place he/she is happy and content that we have served them well.

I wish you all the very best in the training and look forward to working with you as we deliver the 2018 General Election.

Thank you, Vinaka Vakalevu and Dhanyabadh.

…ends…

 

 

Statement by Mr Edwin Nand

Acting Director Stratgic Development and Communication

Presiding Officer’s Training Launch

FEO HQ – Suva – 05th February, 2018 – 11:00am

Mr Edwin Nand, Acting Director Strategic Development and Communications

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

The Fijian Elections Office is ready to begin training for Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers for the 2018 General Election.

Presiding Officers will have a one day training program from the 08 February 2018 – which is this Thursday and we expect to complete by 03 March 2018.

For this week – Week 1, training will be from Thursday to Saturday from 7.30am to 5.00pm at the following venues:

  1. FEO Conference Room [Saturday only]
  2. Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons [FNCDP]
  3. Kshatriya Hall – Lower Hall
  4. Kshatriya Hall – Upper Hall
  5. Studio Six Conference Room
  6. Nausori Village Hall
  7. Sila Central High School – 3 venues [Saturday only]
  8. Lautoka Civic Centre
  9. Nadi Civic Centre [Saturday only]
  10. Kshatriya Hall –Labasa

We are targeting 25 participants for each training session and based on the number of polling stations we will be training 4500 officials by 03 March 2018.

This week alone, we expect to collectively train 625 officials.

Ladies and gentlemen, following the successful completion of the 2018 General Election – Election Officials Recruitment Drive last month, we have received 17,016 applications.

While recruitment was still going on, we had begun half-day trainings – and from those trainings, we identified individuals who qualify for training as Presiding and Assistant Presiding Officers.

Mr Edwin Nand, Acting Director Strategic Development and Communications

Applicants were selected on merit after sitting a test in the half-day Election Officials training.

Appointments for Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers will only be made at the end of the full day training based on their tests results and assessment.

We would like to request those who have been chosen to attend this training to arrive at the venues on time so that there are no delays.

In the coming weeks, the Fijian Elections Office will be contacting applicants who will be allocated training dates in weeks 2 and 3 of the program.

Please note that not ALL applicants who attended the half day training will be called in for this full day training – these sessions are only for Fijians who scored 85 percent and above in their assessment.

The Fijian Elections Office will also be publishing the names of trainees on a weekly basis on our website and social media pages. Venues will also be made available through these channels.

Please note that our 1501 call centre is still operational and staff are on hand to attend to queries from Election Official applicants.

Following the completion of training, the FEO will issue contracts to Election Officials. Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers will receive their contracts from 17 March 2018 to 24 March 2018.

Other Election Officials including Venue Queue Controllers, Inside Queue Controllers, Identification Officers, Ballot Paper Issuers, Ballot Box Guard will receive their contracts from 05 March 2018 to 16 March 2018.

From the 20th of February we will upload on our website the list of Election Officials for each polling station and they will have to attend to their respective FEO Divisional Offices to receive their contracts.

Ladies and gentlemen, these officials will be responsible for ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted conduct of polling at their respective venues.

The FEO has invested in ensuring that they are fully trained and ready to deliver come Election Day, and we are confident in their ability to manage polling venues.

Apart from this, Election Officials will also be ambassadors for the Fijian Elections Office and we expect the highest level of professionalism and respect from each of them.

To those who have been selected for training, I wish you the best of luck and look forward to working with you.

Thank you, Vinaka Vakalevu and Dhanyabadh.

…ends…

Statement by the Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

DAV Girls College Prefects Induction Ceremony

Suva – 02nd February, 2018 – 9:00am

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem at the Prefect’s Induction at DAV College, Suva

The Acting Principal; School Manager; Teachers; Parents; Invited Guests; and Students;

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

I am honored to be here with you all on this joyous and important occasion.

You can tell by the looks on the faces of these children what this function means to them as those who are badged today become important pillars in the school structure this year.

This badge that prefects will receive today is not just an ornament for your school uniform. It is a responsibility that you will carry for the rest of the year.

While this responsibility is with you for this year, it passes on to someone else next year – but the qualities of the badge, the responsibility that you have as a leader, you will carry with you for a lifetime.

This is because you ALL have the potential to become a leader. You all have the potential to become the future leaders of this nation. You have the potential to become a future teacher or principal at this school.

The administrators of this school have seen this potential in you and have chosen you for this important role.

This morning, I would like to share with you some qualities that I personally believe should be present in a good leader.

A good leader starts with a greeting and leaves with a handshake. The impression you start with and the impression you leave with must always be positive. A smile goes a long way and a pat on the back is a lifetime memory.

A good leader is always focused and keeps the team in the same direction. This means the leader does not lose sight of the goal, keeps working towards it and also motivates the team to strive towards success.

Honesty and integrity. Two very important qualities of a leader. You must carry out your duties as a leader with utmost honesty and integrity as it determines your character.

Your character is defined by your confidence and your humility. Because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. You must be bold and fearless and at the same time, be humble.

Another key ingredient that makes good leaders is mentorship. The knowledge imparted by parents and teachers is very important as it affects what students learn.

My message to parents and teachers is to provide these students with the right knowledge, encourage them, motivate them and more importantly inspire them.

As the Supervisor of Elections, I frequently come across situations where people question my actions. You might have seen this happening a lot on TV recently and as we approach the election, expect more of this to happen.

I have a very simple principle that I operate with and here it is:

Imagine if you have $86,400 in your bank account and someone stole $10 from you. Would you be upset and throw away all your $86,390 in hopes of getting back at the person who took $10 from you? Or would you move on and live with the $86,390?

Exactly. We all would move on and live with that $86,390.

Similarly ladies and gentlemen, we have 86,400 seconds in a day. So don’t let someone’s negative 10 seconds ruin the rest of the 86,390 seconds.

Don’t sweat on the small stuff. Life is greater than that.

To the prefects, I wish you all the best in your endeavors and to all the students, I encourage you to strive for success to try and prove to your teachers and parents that you can become good leaders.

Thank you very much and all the best.

Vinaka.

Statement by Electoral Commissioner

Mr Simione Naiduki

Rakiraki Voter Service Centre Opening

Rakiraki – 23rd January 2018 – 12:00noon

Opening of the Rakiraki Voter Services Centre

Fellow Electoral Commissioners, Roko Tui Ra, Roko Tui Nadarivatu, Commissioner Western, Divisional Planning Officer Western, Provincial Administrator Ra, Acting CEO Rakiraki Town Council, Ladies and Gentlemen;

Bula Vinaka!

It is my great pleasure to be here this morning to officiate at the opening of the Voter Services Centre here in Rakiraki on behalf of the Chairperson.

Unfortunately, the Chairperson had to attend to some urgent work in Suva and could not be here today. He sends his apologies.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Voter Services Centre we will open today will be the 7th around the country. We already have such Centres in Nausori, Suva, Savusavu, Nadi, Labasa and Lautoka.

As we all know, this is an election year and as such the Electoral Commission has decided to ensure we expand throughout key centres in Fiji to facilitate voter services.

From today, at this Centre, you can register as a new voter if you not already registered, you can verify your voter details, make changes to your personal details or even get a replacement card.

We already have 624,404 persons on the voter list for 2018 Election. The Rakiraki Centre will cover 20,177 voters at the minimum. There are 95 polling venues in the Rakiraki area office for FEO.

Under the 2013 Constitution, the whole country is a single Constituency. This means there is no requirement to divide Fijians based on ethnicity or race when they come to vote.

The Multinational Observers for 2014 found this to be a positive element for Fiji. That is why we do not ask you about your race or ethnicity when you register. It is irrelevant information as far as the electoral system is concerned.

We are looking forward to delivering excellent services to Rakiraki.

Thank you all for your attendance here this morning.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

…ends…

Introductory Statement by the Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

2018 General Election Publications Launch

Suva – 18th January, 2018 – 3:00pm

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Members of the Electoral Commission, Members of the Diplomatic Community, The Commissioner of Police, Invited guests, Colleagues from the Fijian Elections Office, Ladies and Gentlemen;

Bula Vinaka and welcome to this important event this afternoon.

Today marks a significant milestone achievement for the Fijian Elections Office as we will be launching a few essential compilations heading to the 2018 General Election.

This afternoon, the Electoral Commission will be launching the Candidates Handbook, Media Handbook, the Provisional List of Polling Venues and the 1st Provisional Voter list for the 2018 General Election.

The 2015 – 2019 Strategic Plan of the Fijian Elections Office setup the framework for Capacity development in elections in Fiji. We have already introduced the Polling Agents handbook last year to assist the Political Parties in their capacity building programs with their agents. We sent 1000 copies of the Handbook to each Political Party for their distribution and use.

The FEO also conducted direct training of Political Parties in last quarter of 2017 to build capacity of Party executives in terms of the electoral process and the legal framework. Out of the 7 registered parties, 5 parties attended the workshops that I personally conducted. I am sure, parties will be able to better understand the electoral process now than before.

In 2014, the FEO managed to compile and release the provisional voter list sometimes in June some 3 months before the Election. We activated the 545 sms platform to allow voters to check where they are assigned to vote.

The FEO received 600,000 queries on this platform, 100,000 on Election Day alone. In 2018 we are releasing the first provisional right now in January.

My colleagues will be explaining the particulars relating to other publications in a few moments. The Fijian Elections Office thanks the continuous support and guidance of the Electoral Commission and appreciates the input of the Commission in the publications we do.

I will speak no further but invite the Chairperson, Mr. Chandra to please come and deliver his keynote address this afternoon.

 

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Mr Suresh Chandra

2018 General Election Publications Launch

Suva – 18th January, 2018 – 3:00pm

Fellow Electoral Commissioners, Heads and Members of the Diplomatic Corp, Leaders and members of Political Parties, The Commissioner of Police, Members of the Media, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very warm welcome to you all this afternoon.

Today, we will launch some important publications that will be used in preparation for, during and after the 2018 General Election.

This afternoon, we will unveil to you all, the Candidates Handbook, the Media Handbook, the Provisional Voter List and the Provisional Polling Venue List.

Ladies and gentlemen, generally in Fiji, an election is viewed as an exercise to be conducted by the Electoral Office. It is viewed as something that is the complete responsibility of the Electoral Office and at the end of the Election, after the results, when the observers do a report, the whole report is sort of slapped onto the Electoral Office as – ‘this is your report’.

But that is not the case. An election is something that deals with several stakeholders. For instance, one – yes, of course, the Electoral Office. But two is Parliament because Parliament makes the laws based on which elections are held.

Then there is the Parliamentary Standing Committee. The Parliamentary standing committee is charged with reviewing electoral reports and then dealing with the necessary legal requirement that need to be looked at. Then of course there are political parties. The political parties are the key players in an election so they cannot be said to be not part of the elections.

Speaking generally, looking at the world politics, political parties are sometimes good players and political parties are sometimes bad players.

In some countries, political parties so powerful they even stop people from going into polling stations. They are so rich that they buy votes. But in Fiji we have laws that protect Fijians against that.

Then we have voters. Voters are the most essential component for an election. They are the whole reason why there is an election.

And then, we have the media. The media is sort of the conduit between a voter and the information. Whatever information the media produces is absorbed by the voter and it is up to the voter to then siphon the information for one that is most relevant it and then use it to determine who he or she votes for.

Media also plays another important role in terms of the being the voice of individual voters by highlighting matters of national importance.

It is very important that the media ensures that it is reporting facts. Facts that are verifiable. Facts that have been actually verified.

It is not sufficient for the media organization to report if one politician stands and says, ‘OK, the river has dried up’, and the media just says that the river has dried up without even checking if the river is actually flooded.

Media also plays a significant role in terms of transmitting electoral information from the Electoral Office to the voter. In this sense, the media must make sure that the information that it transmits from the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] or from the Electoral Commission is reported accurately. Don’t lose it in paraphrasing.

The FEO informs us that there was a case where we published a feature article and the title of the feature article was amended without consent of the FEO. This must have caused some confusion but it was sufficiently covered in the article.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, the Electoral Act, the Political Parties Act and the Registration of Voters Act specifically lays out the roles and responsibilities of parties and the media. The FEO has compiled all these responsibilities in booklets to assist the media and the candidates to understand their roles within the process. We believe that once all stakeholders beef up their capacities on elections, it will contribute to the enhancement of the credibility of the elections. The concept of free and fair election does not only rest with the Electoral Commission. The concept of free and fair election is the responsibility of every stakeholder. And in this case, free and fair elections mean political parties, voters and the media and any other stakeholder must conform firstly to the legal principles. And secondly, they must respect the rights and beliefs of every other person.

The Candidates Handbook is designed, and it’s been produced in the major languages as well, to assist any potential candidate to understand the candidate requirements, the legal requirements as well as the process for elections.

The Media Handbook of course, is only in English to facilitate media organizationsin understanding the process and what they can and what they cannot cover.

I would like to congratulate the team at the FEO for the hard work they have done they have in producing these important booklets.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we are all aware, the election may be held between April and November this year. And it is a good thing that we have managed to produce some of these essential capacity building material in January 2018. I hope that it will be put to good use. Moving onto the Provisional Voters List.

Ladies and gentlemen, the provisional voters list, as the director will explain later on, this is the first time we are able to produce the first provisional voter list months away from an election.

This is to assist Fijians ascertain where they will be voting and in the event changes are necessary, they can do so.

I just hope it is not the case when it is election time, say sometime later on in the year, someone stands up and says, ‘I did not change my details’. At that time, you only have yourself to blame.

Another publication being launched today is the 2018 Provisional Polling Venue List. There were 1361 polling venues in 2014 and the numbers have increased to 1435 after assessments of polling venues in 2016 and 2017.

Ladies and gentlemen, these publications before you today are in line with the Commission’s theme – ‘Raising the Standards in the Delivery of Elections in Fiji.’ The materials and content for all publications have been well researched and thoroughly verified to be authentic, apolitical and transparent.

My fellow Commissioners and I have had the opportunity to sight the materials and we are impressed by the simplicity of the content especially since the material will be available for anyone to use.

And the Supervisor of Elections tells me that there will be more publications in the coming months as the FEO gears up to be in full elections mode by April, 2018.

With these few words, I wish the FEO all the best for their preparations.

Thank you for your attendance today ladies and gentlemen and I encourage you to peruse through these materials.

Vinaka Vakalevu

. …ends…

Vote of Thanks by the Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

2018 General Election Publications Launch

Suva – 18th January, 2018 – 3:00pm

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission,

Electoral Commissioners;

Heads and Members of the Diplomatic Corp,

Leaders and members of Political Parties,

Members of the Media,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and thank you all for attending the function this afternoon.

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been a busy few months for the staff at the Fijian Elections Office as they worked around the clock to have these material ready for the launch today.

At this juncture, I would like to offer my thanks to all those who contributed towards the success of the event today.

Firstly, a big vinaka vaka levu to the Electoral Commission Chairperson for your words of encouragement and motivation to my staff and to the Electoral Commissioners for approving these publications.

Representatives from the Diplomatic Corp, members of Political Parties and our stakeholders from the ESAG and EDAWG committees, thank you for your presence to witness this launch.

The staff of FEO who worked tirelessly to ensure that the content and material for these publications were prepared on time also deserve congratulations.

Director Operations and her team have performed exceptionally in finalizing the Provisional Voter List and the Provisional Polling Venue List.

The Communications Team has also delivered a Media Handbook that can stand alongside international publications of a similar nature, reflecting the high standards that the FEO sets for itself.

The Legal Procedures team – Ana Mataiciwa and Mesake Dawai have conducted thorough research in their effort to compile content for the Candidates Handbook. I acknowledge our partnership with International IDEA who have supported the compilation of the handbook.

The Corporate Team including Procurement and Finance have also met some very tight deadlines and sometimes gone out of their way to ensure that all publications were produced on time and ready for launch today.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the FEO has nearly completed another milestone event this month.

We have managed to distribute 600,000 pocket calendars and 17,000 desktop calendars around the country. Pocket calendars were directly sent to each school to be distributed to students.

This Project was handled by Mr. Arin Kumar, public relations Officer. Arin has worked very hard the last couple of weeks and I invite the Chairperson, Mr. Chandra to please present Arin with this Award in recognition of his dedication and commitment. Well done Arin.

Ladies and Gentlemen, before I conclude, here is a snapshot of the 2018 General Election based on the 31 December 2017 data:

The Fijian Elections Office has completed the adjudication exercise of the National Register of Voters Data for the year 2017. The total number of Registered Voters stands at 624,404 out of which 308,780 are females and 315,624 are males.

The distribution of voters are as follows. The Central Division has 263,506 votes followed by western division with 232,606 and northern having 94,408 and eastern recorded 26,320 voters. At the conclusion of the overseas voter registration drive the FEO has recorded 7,564 voters all of who have to apply for a postal vote once election date is announced.

The FEO has also confirmed that it will operate 1435 Polling venues around the country. Prepoll will be conducted in 589 of these venues and the remainder 846 will vote on election day. Based on the voter data as at 31 December 2017, the FEO calculates it will operate 1551 polling stations on election day.

The total number of voters (without factoring any voter who may apply for a postal vote) who are ideally expected to vote on election day stands at 550,735 and those under Prepoll arrangements are 73,669. The 7,564 voters registered overseas will have to apply for a postal vote once the election date is announced.

We are also able to calculate that based on the current voter data and polling station numbers, the FEO will be required to print 757,850 ballot papers and compile 15,157 ballot books. The minimum contingency at each polling station is 10% and maximum will be the remainder in the last book.

The total number of polling staff required for the General Election based on the above voter data will be 10,593. In central division the FEO will require 3555 election officials, 2147 in Eastern Division, 3233 in Western Division, Northern will need 1658 election officials and in Prepoll the FEO will operate 89 teams made-up of 445 officials.

The FEO has continuously updated the National Register of Voters since the conclusion of the 2014 General Election. The following is a breakdown explaining the registration rate as well as result of continuous data cleaning exercise by the FEO:

2014 – 591,101 Registered Voter 2016 – 607,350 Registered Voters 2017 – 624,404 Registered Voters Thank you very much and Vinaka Vakalevu.

–Ends–

Electoral Commissioners with the Fijian Elections Office Publications that were launched in Suva this afternoon.

Statement by the Supervisor of Elections

Introduction to Elections:

A Learning Module for Year 10 Social Science

11/01/18 – SUVA

The Attorney General and Minister for Education, Members of the Electoral Commission, Permanent Secretary for Education, Representatives from the Ministry of Education, Staff of the Fijian Elections Office and Invited guests;

Bula vinaka and a very warm welcome to you all.

The Fijian Elections Office 2015 -2019 in Goal 9, Objective 1 under Activity 31 required the FEO to deliver voter education program targeting newly eligible voters.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce ‘Introduction to Elections: A Learning Module for Year 10 Social Science Students’

This module substitutes the existing portion of the year 10 social studies curriculum on elections.

The two-week course consists of five lessons which culminates with a mock election based on framework similar to that of the Fijian General Election.

The five lessons are:

  1. Lesson 1- Introduction to Elections;
  2. Lesson 2- Why Vote?
  3. Lesson 3- The Fijian Elections Office [FEO];
  4. Lesson 4- Conduct of Elections in Fiji; and
  5. Lesson 5- Mock Election

Ladies and Gentlemen, Lesson 5, the Mock Election, is a culminating activity which will allow students to conduct a mock election. The students will be required to be the Student Supervisor of Elections, Presiding Officer, Polling Day Workers, Media Official, Polling Agents, Observer and voters.

This mock election exercise gives students a glimpse into the Fijian electoral process by simulating a polling station, with mock ballot boxes, voting screens and ballot papers, and then carrying out seat allocation.

To prepare for this exercise the FEO has printed 20,000 copies of the Students Workbook which will be given every Year 10 student and 40,000 ballot papers has also been printed. The FEO has also developed a Teachers Manual, a Mock Election Kit and a full time dedicated website for this curriculum. We have linked the website to some social media sites to generate interest.

Ladies and gentlemen, this website as per our standards requirements has disability friendly features which will help students with special needs to access information.

For example, students will be able to utilize the text-to-speech function which will enable students to listen to the notes instead of reading it.

The FEO has also developed videos to compliment the teacher lesson on Voting, Counting and Seat Allocation. Since the FEO recruits election officials from the general public, we are looking forward to some with ‘in-class’ experience soon.

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.

I would like to thank Australian civic education and democratic governance practitioner, Yvonne Goudie, who assisted FEO Research Officer Ravneel Chand in the development of this curriculum and its tools.

Their efforts are 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.

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

Thank you and vinaka vakalevu.

Statement by the Supervisor of Elections Mr Mohammed Saneem

11 December, 2017 9 am

FEO HQ – SUVA

The Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem and The Vice-Chancellor of Fiji National University, Professor Nigel Healey

Fiji National University, Vice Chancellor Professor Nigel Healey, welcome to the Fijian Elections Office. It is certainly a pleasure having you, I also want to say that as far as University engagements go we are very proud of our engagements with the Fiji National University.

Time and again we meet on various developments and I’m looking forward to this new engagement through the Fiji National University Alumni Association elections.

The MOU that we sign with the FNU Alumni Association is following the approval by the Minister under section 154 of the Electoral Act for the FEO to be able to conduct elections for the Alumni Association.

I’d also like to acknowledge and thank the Fiji National University and the Alumni Association for its confidence in the Fijian Elections Office to conduct its election and the MOU sets the platform on how we will proceed from here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, because this is the Alumni of a University it would be a good platform for us to use Electronic Voting machines. Earlier on we advertised widely that that Electronic Voting machines are only for small-scale elections, Trade Union Elections and University Elections and I’m grateful to the Alumni Association for accepting the offer to conduct elections using these Machines.

We will be conducting this election for the Alumni Association in January, and I understand that the association will now embark on a massive registration drive so that they are able to engage as many FNU Alumni as possible.

With the rich and vast history of the Fiji National University, this will be a tremendous task to register members.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we also wish to say that we use small-scale elections to test and perfect our election processes and the Alumni Association election will also present us another platform to do this. The Fijian Electoral

Commission has approved a theme, ‘Raising Your Standards in the delivery

of Elections in Fiji’ and with the University elections and other elections that we conduct, we certainly use this as an opportunity.

The Association of World Election Bodies (AWEB), in its engagement with Fiji has invited Fiji to consider if it wishes to host a regional training centre on elections. This will be an AWEB initiative in the Pacific Region and the Regional Training centre will be a platform for AWEB to progress technology in elections, and to progress capacity building in elections in the whole region.

I would definitely look forward to discussions with Professor Healey in terms of the possibility of having FNU as our key partner in becoming this crucial hub for the Pacific region for AWEB.

This year we ran the second Student Association election for the Fiji National University Students Association and we look forward to continuing this partnership with the Student Associations. It is an interesting area for us as these are the future generations of the country and giving them an exposure to good election practices is what we are all about.

I would like to congratulate Industrial Election Coordinator Mr Aisea Wainiqolo and his team for adding another one to the list. They have run about two hundred elections, the Association election will be the first for 2018 and I’m sure that his team will be prepared to run this.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to thank Professor Healey and Mr Netani Sukanaivalu and his team, the FNU staff as well as the entire Alumni for their faith in the FEO to conduct your elections. I look forward to enhancing this very fruitful collaboration in the future under the MOU.

Thank You and Vinaka Vakalevu.

Statement by Stakeholder Awareness Coordinator

Mr Edwin Nand

Election Officials Recruitment Drive Phase II

01/12/2017 – FEO HQ

Mr Edwin Nand – Stakeholder and Awareness Coordinator

Bula vinaka ladies and gentlemen,

The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] will be conducting its second phase of Election Officials Recruitment during the months of December 2017 and January 2018.

This time around, we will be doing things a little differently – we have designed our schedules and deployment plans to target eligible Fijians living mostly in peri-urban and rural areas. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. We want to ensure that there are sufficient Election Officials to staff all polling stations in rural areas – especially in locations from which we have received fewer applications.
  2. We want to ensure that persons who could not attend the recruitment drive earlier are given an opportunity to do so. The FEO realizes the geographical challenges for voters living outside the urban areas, and this should not disqualify them from participating in what is a national exercise for all Fijians.

Ladies and gentlemen, a comprehensive plan has been prepared by our team for the second phase of recruitment and as an example, we will be visiting areas such as Naqali and Vunidawa in the interior of Naitasiri, Vatukoula in Tavua and Seaqaqa and Nabouwalu in Vanua Levu.

A more detailed schedule is available on the FEO website and Facebook pages, however given the geographic challenges, we have also partnered with various Provincial Councils to ensure that word gets out and that voters are prepared.

Our recruitment process has not changed and for the second phase we will still use the Election Officials Recruitment System and applicants will have to sit a Computer Based Test.

Phase II of the recruitment drive will run from 5th December to 15th December 2017, with the second round scheduled from 8th January to 26th January 2018.

As you are aware, the FEO initially announced that we are looking for 17, 000 Election Officials to work on Election Day and in round one of the exercise, we received 13,574 applications.

Looking at statistics from the first phase of recruitment, the total number of applicants who passed the test is 12,669.

10,113 applicants have completed training as of November 30, 2017.

We’ve also been unable to contact 661 applicants because we can’t get through to them on the mobile phone contact provided to the FEO. We would urge these persons to contact us on 1501 and quote their Application Reference number.

The number of applicants trained by Division as of November 30, 2017 are as follows:

Division Number
Northern 1286
Central 4904
Western 3143
Eastern 483

 

As for teachers, we have received applications from 522 teachers as of 30th November, 2017.

From the Central Division, we have 299 applications, 153 for the Western Division and 70 applications were received in the Northern Division.

Please note, we are targeting 300 applications from teachers per division.

Since this exercise ends on 02 December 2017, teachers who wish to apply can also visit one of our recruitment centres which will be open during Phase II.

School teachers will be our back-up staff for Polling Day and they must apply on our Election Official Recruitment System so we can have them sit the test and then be referred for training.

We encourage school teachers to apply quickly so that we can train them in January and not affect the school schedules next year.

For persons who missed out on the initial recruitment drive in July this year, now is your chance. Find your nearest recruitment venue, and show up with your VoterCard, FNPF Number, TIN Letter and Bank account details at our recruitment centres.

Also, we had some cases where applicants did not give their correct phone numbers and bank details.

All details of the second phase of recruitment will be available on the website and other platforms such as social media on:

fijielects2018.org.fj/eofficials/

www.facebook.com/Fijianelectionsoffice

www.facebook.com/FijiVotes2018

Thank you very much for your time ladies and gentlemen.

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.

Bula Vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you very much for accepting our invitation. May I also take this opportunity to warmly welcome our guests from the Republic of Korea.

The Fijian Elections Office joined the Association of World Election Bodies in 2015. AWEB at the time had 106 members. Following our acceptance into AWEB, we participate in numerous training sessions in Korea as well as Election Visitor Programs during Korean National Elections.

We may all remember the Secretary General Kim Yong-Hi came to Fiji in March this year and signed a record of discussions confirming AWEB’s support to the FEO in the area of Trade Union Elections and ICT titled ‘Project to support Building Electoral Transparency through Automation of Voting and Counting System in the Republic of Fiji’

The objectives of this Project were to:

  1. Provide 50 Units of touch screen voting machines to contribute to the improvement in the voting process for Trade Union Elections
  2. Build redundant networks and security systems for the stable management and operation of the FEO server room.
  3. Offer Training, education and technical assistance about the touch screen machine and systems to be newly introduced by AWEB

I am glad today to announce that the action items from the record of discussions have been successfully realized.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this morning we will witness the delivery and handing over of Touch Screen Voting Machines for Trade Union elections in Fiji. We will also mark today as the completion date for the AWEB support to the FEO ICT division interms of network upgrade and security enhancement.

I would like to briefly explain both these projects before I hand-over to our respected speakers this morning.

  1. Touch Screen Voting Machines for Trade Union Elections

Based on Goal 1, Objective 2 of the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan of the FEO which states

Implement innovative solutions to improve the administration of elections in Fiji

The FEO had been conducting Trade Union elections since 2014 and they have reported considerable improvements. We have annually run over 100 elections on average since 2015.  Additionally, the FEO also runs elections for University Student Associations.

Automation of Trade Union elections will definitely improve the transparency and efficiency of the process. Trade Union Elections also present an ideal environment to introduce innovative enhancements in a smaller scale.

  1. Build redundant networks and security systems for the stable management and operation of the FEO server room.

The AWEB is a leader in terms of elections ICT in the world. AWEB has significant capacity when it comes to access to and availability of experts in various IT fields that may not be readily available in the Pacific let alone Fiji.

This part of our project involved the AWEB experts carrying out an audit of the FEO network and server infrastructure to ascertain the strength of our security systems as well as our data handling protocols. In simple terms for us lay people, AWEB security experts checked our network vulnerability.

After the initial audit, the experts found our network to be at sufficient security standards and recommended that we further enhance our security platform to ensure greater protection.

AWEB team worked closely with our network engineers to build extra redundancies, create additional firewall protocols, and create network zoning for greater protection against unauthorized access as well as data protection.

AWEB also supplied industry standard hardware and equipment for FEO’s data centre. I am informed by my network team that our electronic data and systems are now state-of-the-art enterprise level.  AWEB gave us 2 fortigate 500D firewall appliance which is used by ISO certified ISP’s.

AWEB also provided technical assistance for our planned second data redundancy located somewhere in Fiji. We would like at all times to be prepared for disaster recovery and business continuity and this second redundancy guarantees this for us.

These are huge futuristic investments in our country by AWEB.

  1. Offer Training, education and technical assistance about the touch screen machine and systems to be newly introduced by AWEB

AWEB undertook this aspect of the agreement in Incheon, Korea. 20 staff of the FEO, including approved Returning officers for Trade Union Elections participated in a 9 days hands-on training program from 20 to 29 October 2017.

At the training, our team studied the functionality, the operability and the trouble shooting of the machines. Technical training was also provided to our IT teams in terms of encrypted data transmission and handling.

Our IT teams managed to forge greater networks with industry specialists. This will prove to be an excellent resource in the more pressing and demanding times for the 2018 General Election.

As with all AWEB programs, our team also got to experience the rich culture and other advancements of Korea.

On behalf of my team I would like to sincerely thank the executive and staff of AWEB for this wonderful collaboration. We especially thank AWEB for agreeing to work with such a small emb like us to help us in expanding our ICT capacities.

Mr. Director General, AWEB’s investment in Fiji and the FEO is sincerely appreciated and I look forward to continuing our partnership.

Vinaka – gamshamnidaaaaa!

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

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 the Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

Result Management Information System Software Development Agreement Signing

28th September, 2017

11:00am – FEO HQ Conference Room

Bula Vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen and a very good morning to you all.

Acknowledging our DATEC partner, Ateen, thank you so much for taking out your time and to your team who are here as well. It’s good that we know who you are so we know who is working on the project and as well as our technical advisor Mr Robin Boyd including our partners from Korea, AWEB.

Ladies and Gentlemen, today is a very important day in the calendar in the lead-up to the 2018 General Elections.

The Fijian Elections Office as you are already aware is now in elections mode and we are now in the final enhancement of the Result Management System for the next General Elections.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the FEO had procured the development of the Result Management Information System prior to the 2014 General Elections through DATEC. The Result Management system was actually something based on the 2006 Result Management System, although the result calculation tabulation material was different.

The core structure was based on the 2006 design of the Result Management System which I’m informed was done also through DATEC. So with its long standing history and experience in the design of this sensitive software, DATEC was our preferred supplier for the enhancements that we needed to do.

Notwithstanding the legal side of things where they were the ones who built it in the first place so they get the chance to edit it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in terms of improvement to the 2014 Result Management System, from the 2006 design, the key thing that we included was the double blind data entry. This is to ensure that data entry in terms of the results of the election is done accurately by our data entry personnel and that there is a systematic approach to identifying or removing errors.

This was visible in the 2014 final results when you take the protocol results from Polling venues and you compare that with the results that was published by the Result Management System in terms of the high accuracy.

The double blind data entry system also allowed us a high level of transparency where our supervisors were able to verify discrepancies at data entry level and then verify through the protocol of results and then make the results accurate.

The 2014 General Election results were also tabulated in a manual system in our cabinets as well as the Result Management System and the results are still available on the website.

We had conducted a review after the 2014 General Elections at the FEO general level in terms of the Result tabulation system and other components that were involved, our team highlighted that we needed to enhance the software.

Enhancements include the need for the software to automatically print out results that have been recorded in the software. This is very useful in terms of updates for the political parties and the members of the media.

You may remember the pink slips that were pasted in the Results Centre in 2014. We actually ran out of space to do that. We want the RMIS to print a reciprocal slip of the similar polling station results so that political parties, members of the media and other interested persons are able to verify this.

We also want the software to become more user interactive. I must admit that in 2014, the software was too technical and I couldn’t use it because I didn’t know how to type strings and threads and I think Ateen understands all these languages better.

But this time around, I would like to be able to press some buttons for records to be generated. That’s much easier in terms of data handling for verifications and QA as well.

The other thing that we have incorporated into the design is a flush mechanism. The flush mechanism has the ability to delete all data in terms of numbers from the RMIS before data entry begins.

So we have notified political parties that on the night of elections, at 6pm, we will be conducting a system flush where we will delete all data from the RMIS. We will print the list of candidates and polling stations with zeros on them so that you can see there is no data there and it’s all zero, zero, zero. Then the next process is we will type one, one, one for candidates, we will print that as a secondary record that one is equal to one at the print out stage. We will then again flush the system and bring it down to zero, zero, zero then we start with data entry.

So this is very important from those who may be skeptical about whether one is equal to one or one is equal to not one. So in this sense, the flush process will be live on air from the RMIS on the FEO channels and I am sure the members of the media will also be interested in covering that ceremony at 6pm at the Result Management Centre on Election Night for the flush to ensure that you are satisfied that the system starts from zero when the data entry begins.

Ladies and gentlemen, just to mention, that we will still maintain the provisional results data entry and then once provisional results conclude at 7am the next morning, we will start with the results data entry for the final results. We will be giving out more information about the RMIS and the result delivery in due course.

The FEO in all its software development projects ensure that there is utmost sensitivity around data and source codes and to that end, as is our standard practice, our supplier has agreed to provide the software source codes to the FEO following the conclusion of the development phase and the source code will be kept secured by the FEO IT team. Basically, we don’t allow our source codes to be kept by any third party vendor and that is the reason why the source codes will be returned to us by the supplier and thank you Ateen for graciously agreeing to that very stringent requirement.

Ladies and gentlemen, Datec Fiji Limited will also be very useful in their role and knowledge because in 2014, the development of the software was done in a month and it was deployed on a closed network and I am sure they have also done some assessments as to what can be done better with the software and we will be doing final testing in about three months’ time and we will be doing a lot of public awareness on how the RMIS works.

It is very important that the RMIS at the Result Management Centre will actually be on a closed network. At this time, we have given thought after planning that there will not be any Wi-Fi networks in that facility. It will be a closed network setup and this is to prevent the ability of any penetration or suspicious activities in terms of the housing of the place so because I am not an IT person, I believe it’s called switch on and switch off – so we will physically protect that area by removing any chances of infiltration. That is for security.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Datec Fiji Limited is a very reputable supplier of software applications and it has many international partners and the FEO is proud to be associated with them to develop the RMIS for the next General Election.

Before I conclude, I would like to mention that there is a publicity component of the results of the election which is not handled by the RMIS. The publicity component will be handled by the Communications team at the FEO. This will be done with a little bit of a twist. We will be announcing the results on an App which has been developed in-house for the general public.

And this App will be updating itself every 15 minutes and you will be able to get the results on your phone every 15 minutes. So you don’t have to continuously download updates, the App will update itself every 15 minutes and you should be able to get the results.

The second source of the results will be the FEO website and the website will be running live results as you would have seen with the United States of America, New Zealand, Australia and Korean Elections. Results will go live on the website and the members of the public who are proficient with the smartphone technology will be able to access those results from the website. Members of the media will also be able to access those results in various formats from the website and we will talking to the media organisations in Fiji on Election results coverage because we will not be announcing the results every 20 minutes as we did in 2014.

The results will become virtual and will be available to you in your palms or at your computer screens. We will release more information on this once we have solidified our plans with the members of the media.

The demo of the app will be made available at the end of January, 2018 for you to use. We may place the 2014 General Election results on the app so that you are able to familiarize yourselves on how to go about the app and see the results.

So that is the results that will be exported from the RMIS – it’s not the results that RMIS is going to put on the website because it’s on a closed network and it doesn’t have internet access.

That brings me to the end of my brief on the aspects of the RMIS of the 2018 General Election.

And before I conclude, I would like to mention that the RMIS development and enhancement is being handled by Sadie Tunaulu and her team and they will be looking after other software developments and I would like to thank her and her team for their long hours they have dedicated for the conclusion of some of our technological projects of the office we wish your team all the best in this project and all the other projects.

Vinaka.

Statement by the Stakeholder Awareness Coordinator

Mr Edwin Nand

Update on the training of 2018 General Election – Elections Officials

29th September, 2017

12:00noon – FEO Headquarters

The Fijian Elections Office will be rolling out the training of Election Officials on a much larger scale beginning next Tuesday 3rd October 2017.

Over the last three weeks, 2026 applicants have gone through the first phase of training.

The Fijian Elections Office has been able to vet an additional 4000 applications as persons who turned up for the Recruitment Drive have been gradually submitting their necessary documents.

The Fijian Elections Office would also like to thank our stakeholders who have been assisting us in processing data in order to finalise all applications.

As part of our Elections Preparation Plan, we will now be running three training sessions per day on Tuesdays and Thursdays at our venues in Suva and Nasinu. Additionally, two sessions will be held on Saturdays.

The training schedules area designed to accommodate the needs of Election Officials and so we have arranged for sessions in the morning, the afternoon and in the evening – whichever is most suitable to applicants.

Our team has already informed many of these applicants to inform them of the training from next week, and others will be contacted in due course.

We have 1050 participants targeted for next week and while we have called them personally to confirm training, a sms notification will also be sent out shortly.

The FEO has set up venues in Suva, Nasinu, Nausori, Lautoka and Labasa. Details for each venue will be published in the newspapers and through the FEO’s social media networks.

Our toll free number 1501 is still active and applicants can call in to enquire by quoting their app reference number given to them at the end of the Computer Based Test.

As we move closer to the 2018 General Election, the Fijian Elections Office is on track with its timelines and preparations – the training of Election Officials is part of that process as well.

For persons who have not heard from us as yet – if your application is successful, you will be contacted by our team in due course.

We look forward to working with you to deliver the 2018 General Election.

Vinaka.

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.

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

Recruitment Drive Begins Statement by Stakeholder Awareness Coordinator Mr Edwin Nand

Monday 31 July 2017

Bula Vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Fijian Elections Office has begun the recruitment of 17,000 Election Officials to help deliver the 2018 General Election. On Friday morning we opened our first recruitment centre at Kshatriya Hall in Suva and saw a steady stream of applicants from as early as 7 am.

It was a good day with encouraging turnouts and applicants sat their test in calm and confident manner.

This is the first time in Fiji when a large scale recruitment is being conducted directly on Computers.

The Fijian Elections Office has now rolled out the recruitment drive across the country, with a total of 18 venues in all four Divisions.

With the commencement of the recruitment drive, our helpline is also now active. The 1501 platform will be operational between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm every week day to answer any queries that applicants may have.

This is the only helpline for queries and may I remind all applicants that they have to use the reference number issued to them at the end of the application process when making calls to this number.

The FEO will continue to create awareness around the Recruitment Drive, the venues, and the requirements over the coming weeks to ensure that applicants don’t face any issues when they turn up at the recruitment centre.

The recruitment drive has been planned for various durations depending on the number of staff we need in those areas. Interested persons should check the schedules and make their arrangements to come to these venues.

Starting tomorrow, we will have recruitment centres open in all 4 Divisions. Some will be open until 9 pm in order to cater for people who may not be able to attend during the day due to various commitments.

All relevant information is available on our website www.fijielects2018.org.fj.

Vinaka.

 

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

Media Statement by the Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

FEO Conference Room

26 July, 2017

2:00pm

 

Bula Vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

The Fijian Elections Office (FEO), has concluded the 2017 Nationwide Voter Registration Drive. The Drive which we had started on 22 May for 6 weeks was further extended by 1 week to cater for the high interest towards the end of the program.

 

The Nationwide drive included the following key electoral events:

  • Secondary School Voter registration and awareness
  • National Register of Voters print out verification and display
  • Verification of deceased voters
  • 2017 Polling Venue Assessment
  • General Voter services

The Fijian Elections Office placed teams around the country including the islands to ensure that the above electoral programs were adequately carried out.

As Supervisor of Elections, I would like to thank all our media partners who helped push out the message. A special thanks to all the business houses and schools that accommodated our teams.

I would like to take this special opportunity to thank all Fijians who took the opportunity to come in and access the voter services that we were offering. This is very very important considering the election is to be held in 2018.

The Voter Registration, ladies, and gentlemen is an apolitical exercise. Voter registration services were provided by the FEO upon request and this will be done as we have been doing since 2012.

We expanded our services during the Nationwide drive to persons who needed special assistance for registration. We organized our teams in all the divisions to visit those persons who made requests for our services.

At the end of the Nationwide drive, the Fijian Elections Office had recorded over 240,000 engagements with voters. We decided to suspend voter services for 2 weeks so that we could properly integrate the data that we had collected in the field into our central databases. We also had to take this time to update all our registration kits with the updated approved data. This process is now complete.

The following are the new statistics after the data verification exercise:

Data March 2017 25 July 2017
Male 307,526 313,453
Female 298,471 303,137
Total Registered 605,997 616,590

The total number of new registration was: 12, 436.

So far this year the FEO has confirmed and removed 9,156 persons from the Register as deceased.

By Division, the Central Division has the highest number of voters at 258, 849. The Western Division comes second with 230, 058, the Northern Division has 94, 577 and the Eastern Division has 26, 836.

And we also conducted 32 home visits in the Central Division, 20 in the Western and 12 in the Northern Division.

As you are all aware the FEO also conducts registration of voters overseas. We would like to acknowledge our High Commissions and Embassies who have facilitated this processes for us and I would like to reiterate that the major registration drive for overseas voters is going to take place during the Fiji Day celebrations this year.

We have already concluded the registration drive in the Pacific Island countries with the exception of Nauru, the Marshall Islands, and Hawaii.

The total number of registered voters in the overseas category is 6270, hence the total of 616, 590.

Ladies and gentlemen, the information we have provided you will be relied upon in making preparations for the next general election. This information is publicly available from our website www.feo.org.fj and in the interests of transparency the statistics will be published in the newspapers tomorrow.

Before I conclude, I would like to raise another very pertinent matter. The FEO always endeavors to publish accurate electoral information that has always been thoroughly verified. We would like to encourage all political parties, stakeholders and voters to ensure that information that they publish or rely on has been correctly stated and obtained from authenticated sources.

Our attention has been brought to a social media issue where a person who claims to be ‘chief volunteer in a Political Party’ has compiled and published a concocted table of registered voters in Fiji. Our Communications Team reports that this misinformation has been widely circulated on social media casting aspersions on the registration process.

Whilst we will deal with this mischief and its maker through appropriate processes, our message to all voters is to verify electoral information especially the source.

Such information which is not from an authentic source and not from the FEO must be disregarded as these are always bound to have errors. I would like to remind the particular person that it is very very discouraging that he has taken such an initiative to create uncertainty and confusion.

Moving towards the 2018 General Election, it is the responsibility of every political party as well as every voter to ensure that election information is always provided and supplied with utmost integrity and correctness.

It is very very important that one must not mislead a voter. Where possible, try and get the correct information and details such as your information about the National Register of Voters which must always be referred to from the FEO as we maintain the register.

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all my staff, both long term and short term, who participated in this exercise and worked with a high level of commitment and integrity to ensure that these services were provided to all Fijians.

Vinaka.

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

Statement by the Director Operations Ms Anaseini Senimoli

FEO Teams Deployed to Lau

Tuesday 6 June 2017

9.30am

Bula Vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you for your attendance this morning.

As part of the current Nationwide Voter Registration Drive, we will be deploying 45 staff to the Lau Group for the next 20 days.

The team will be travelling on-board MV Iloilovatu that departs Narain Jetty on 7 June, 2017. The FEO wishes to extend its sincere appreciation to Government Shipping Services for their continued cooperation in all our projects.

As part of this exercise our teams will visit the following islands in this order:

  1. Moala
  2. Totoya
  3. Matuku
  4. Ono-i-Lau
  5. Vatoa
  6. Fulaga
  7. Ogea
  8. Kabara
  9. Namuka-i-Lau
  10. Komo
  11. Moce
  12. Oneata
  13. Lakeba
  14. Vanuavatu
  15. Cicia
  16. Tuvuca
  17. Nayau
  18. Vanuabalavu
  19. Avea
  20. Cikobia
  21. Namalata
  22. Mago
  23. Naitauba
  24. Yacata

The FEO has identified 72 polling venues in the Lau Group for the next General Election, all of which will be Pre-Poll venues. Our teams will also re-inspect all the polling locations as well as conduct voter awareness, informing voters that they will be doing Pre-Poll voting in 2018.

As at 20 April 2017, there are 6,641 Voters in the areas we will be covering. All eligible Fijians in the Lau group will have the opportunity to conveniently access the following services when our teams visit each community:

  • Electronic Voter Registration Upgrade to VoterCards 2.0Corrections and Change of Voter Details
  • Visit to 5 secondary schools in the Lau Group
  • Check personal details on the National Register of Voters
  • Reassessment of Polling Venues
  • Verification of deceased Voters

The FEO is deploying 15 teams to 24 Islands, including schools. We also have a mobile team which will visit individuals in their homes, should they have difficulties coming to the venues. This is designed to assist the elderly and those living with disabilities.

All Fijians must bring their birth certificate and a valid photo ID in order to register. In the event that anyone should not have a valid photo ID, the Election Officials will require that the voter’s identity be verified by a parent or the Turaga ni Koro, who must be a registered voter.

The 2017 Nationwide Voter Registration Drive ends on I July, 2017.

We request for the assistance of the media in getting this information out to the people in the Lau Group, so that they may take full advantage of the opportunity to access voter services.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

Opening address by Director Corporate
Mr Sanjeshwar Ram

Recruitment Assistant Training
Tanoa Plaza
17-19 July, 2017
8:30am

A very good morning to all participants and course coordinators.

On behalf of the Supervisor of Elections I warmly welcome you all to this recruitment assistant training. The Supervisor of Elections is currently engaged in another workshop and has sent his apologies.

The Fijian Elections Office will be commencing the recruitment drive for up to 17,000 election officials for the 2018 General Election from the 28th of July this year. This morning I am addressing the team that will carry out this massive task.

Over the course of your duties, you will come across thousands of Fijians who will by vying for the election Officials position. Applicants will come from diverse backgrounds and circumstances. Many will be new to open merits recruitment system, many will be new to computer based testing, many will be new to ‘having to apply without a CV and the list goes on.

The task you will be handling will be strenuous and will test your physical as well as your physiological limits. Always maintain your cool. You must always remember that the people you are dealing with will be the people who will deliver the 2018 General Election.

People generally can imagine the organization they are about to join by interacting with the recruitment teams. Thus it is important that you display the highest standards of customer service, honesty and integrity. The best way to achieve this is by following the recruitment processes that we have designed for this project. Customer service is assessed firstly based on consistency and that is what we would like to uphold during this recruitment drive.

Every staff we employ must be approachable. FEO staff should be the first to greet the other person and this shows your humility. Don’t forget to smile. You will be setting an example to the people we will hire for next year.

It is imperative that you understand the roles and responsibilities which you need to carry out during the drive. This training will take you through the core aspects of the responsibilities. It will take you through technical concepts that you will have to master.

During the training, you will observe the different phases in which recruitment assistants will be required to work starting from the recruitment drive commencing this month to election announcement day in 2018.

The 3 days training is expected to be comprehensive, rigorous and demanding. The FEO expects that you fully interact in this training. Ask questions. Clarify any issues you may have. All these must be done within the 3 days.

Please do note that there is a test on the final day. Just attending the training for the 3 days does not automatically grant you a job as a recruitment assistant.

You must also prove through the final day test that you have fully understood the roles and responsibilities of a recruitment assistant and are ready to take up the challenge.

The Supervisor of Elections has given the responsibility for the recruitment of election officials to me. I would like to demonstrate that my team is capable and has the ability to handle this huge responsibility. We must work together.

In the event you are unable to handle a particular situation with a client then you must always refer it to your supervisor. We must demonstrate good customer service to external clients as well as within the FEO. If there are grievances, these must be properly raised through your supervisors.

Ladies and gentlemen the FEO expects that its recruitment assistants will be fully trained and qualified to assist in the recruitment of elections official for the 2018 General Elections. The FEO demands that you perform your role with commitment, dedication and with diligence.
With these words, I wish you all the best for the next 3 days in training and I hope you will find this training very productive, rewarding and useful in your work.

Thank you!

Statement by the Supervisor of Elections
Mr Mohammed Saneem

Wednesday 05 July 2017
5.30pm

Bula Vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for joining us.

The Fijian Elections Office will be commencing the recruitment drive for up to 17,000 election officials for the 2018 General Election from the 28th of July this year. This is a major component of election preparation and it is necessary that we start early. Election officials will staff the 2000+ polling stations in Fiji on Election Day.

Historically, Fiji has had 10 General Elections since independence and until 2014, all officials were primarily civil servants.

However, the trend internationally moved towards elections being conducted by ordinary citizens. This trend favours the principle of creating ownership in the election process as well as in the democracy.

In 2014, the Electoral Act allowed the FEO to independently recruit election officials throughout the nation under a national recruitment drive. We received 15,609 applications from Fijians to work in the elections, out of which we recruited approximately 11,000.

These officials were trained by our trainers and they delivered the 2014 General Election and set a standard for elections in future. The officials carried out their roles diligently. Observers and voters commended their performance. We always endeavor to provide excellent customer service as we have done so in the past.

I’d like to quote some of the findings of the observers in the Multi-Observers Group report, and I quote:

(Observers commented very positively on the performance of polling day officials, who in general were very competent and committed to performing their duties. Most polling staff had no experience of the previous election and were implementing a new electoral procedure. The training of polling staff was generally well organized. Materials for staff – particularly the Presiding Officers’ Operations and Training Manual – were extremely detailed, describing every step at length.

Observers also commended polling staff on their professionalism and flexibility in problem-solving.

Observer teams witnessed a number of voters requiring assistance, including disabled, elderly, and visually impaired persons. On occasion, polling day workers were also called on to provide assistance. Polling staff and communities should be commended for their efforts to ensure all Fijians had the opportunity to vote.

Many instances were also observed of extraordinary efforts by polling staff to ensure the disabled could cast their ballots, including carrying the people and bringing ballots and boxes to the voter.

Ladies and gentlemen with all of that as experience in mind, let us now focus on the next GENERAL ELECTION.

Based on our registration figures as at 20th April 2017, we have registered just over 603,557 voters. We will be getting more numbers as the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive concludes this weekend. The Electoral Commission has approved that the maximum number of voters that can be assigned to a polling station is 500.

According to the provisional list of polling venues published on 15th March 2017, there are 409 Polling venues in the Central division, 464 in the western division, 337 in the Northern division and 206 in the Eastern Division. Therefore, based on these figures, the FEO anticipates that we will have approximately 2019 polling stations for the next General Election. Actual figures may vary and will be released much closer to the election date.

The Election Officials Recruitment Drive that will begin on 28 July this year is open to ALL registered voters regardless of whether they are currently employed or not. Everyone who is interested – has to apply. If you worked for us in 2014, you will still have to apply. If you are already in employment, your employer may have to give you prior consent to work during the General Election – that will be between the applicant and the employer.

For the 2018 General Election, the recruitment of staff will be done on our newly developed Computer Based Testing system which is part of our Election Management System. We will be testing you on your numeracy and literacy skills.

Let me explain how the process will work;

All interested persons must show up at the Recruitment Centre with their required documents. Since only registered voters will be allowed to work, you must take advantage of the current Nationwide Voter Registration Drive and update your details.

We would like you to work in a polling venue nearest to your residence to minimize inconvenience to you and therefore you will have to update your details. The software assigns you to a polling venue nearest you. There will not be any Voter Registration booths at these recruitment centres.

At the recruitment center, applicants will be required to collect a username and password from the Recruitment Assistant in order to access the system. Applicants will then be directed to a laptop, which they will use to fill out the Application form. This should not take more than 15minutes.

Every applicant will be required to undertake the Literacy and Numeracy Test containing 20 questions and you will have 30 minutes to attempt these tests.

At the end of the test, the system will print out your Application Form and other necessary documents, which must be handed to the Recruitment Assistant. All employees of the Fijian Elections Office must sign a Declaration of political neutrality.

Applicants will be then given an Acknowledgement letter with your unique reference number that will be used for all future correspondence. One of the key mechanisms for correspondence with applicants is through SMS or text messaging and therefore it is essential that at the time of completing the application, personal mobile numbers are correctly entered. Please try and avoid crowding the FEO Offices around the country to enquire about your recruitment details as this will be available on the website and other platforms such as social media platforms.

Mostly, please wait for the SMS notification for the next step in the process.

This time, each applicant will do their own data entry and care must be taken to enter details correctly. We had noted from 2014 recruitment process that some people tried to sit the test more than once. This time, the software will not accept repeat attempts. You can only apply once.

We are not going to test you based on your knowledge of elections nor the number of years of experience you may have had in elections. We do not want you to bring a CV to the recruitment centre, we only need you to bring your VoterCard, and copies of your FNPF card, TIN letter, or Joint card and details of your current bank account.

The Fijian Elections Office is an open merit based, equal opportunity employer and all appointments will be made based on your performance in the test as well as the training that follows.

We believe that every Fijian has a role to play not only as a voter but in other aspects of elections. Elections need to become a part of life as we mature into electoral democracy that we have. Elections as a concept for choosing the government must become part and parcel of ordinary daily life. Working in elections is one way to promote this participatory approach.

Ladies and gentlemen, I will now briefly outline the logistics plan for the recruitment drive. Recruitment will start on 28 July at the Kshatriya Hall in Suva from 9 am to 5 pm only.

Thereafter for all the 4 divisions, recruitment centres will open from the 01 August 2017. We will advertise details of these venues in the daily newspapers as well as on our FEO channels.

Let me point out that we will not be conducting recruitment in which have been assigned for pre-poll. The FEO has planned to recruit and deploy pre-poll teams from the urban areas to ensure that the logistical exercise is easier to deal with.

To ensure that we get election officials with the highest levels of commitment, energy, honesty and integrity, the FEO has worked out an attractive salary package. This includes payment for attending the training sessions as well as work you do on Election Day.

The following positions are available:

Presiding Officers
Paid $410.00 as a package for the work they will do.
Key duties: Briefing and managing staff and resources. Setting up Polling Station in accordance with the FEO manuals. Updating, signing for, and securing storage of all election records/sensitive voting materials. Managing the polling station during polling as well as assisting voters that need assistance. Manage the count of ballot papers. Transmitting results to the Count and results Centre. Close of Polling Station to return all materials to Fijian Elections Office.

Assistant Presiding Officer
Paid a package of $320.00.
Duties of Assistant Presiding Officer include: To support the Presiding Officer when the Presiding Officer is assisting a voter. If required, to deputize the Presiding Officer in his absence. Manage the flow of voters. Respond to queries, assist in the setting up and the closure of the polling station.

Polling Day Workers for the next election will be paid a Package Rate of $180.00

Key Duties of Polling Day Workers: These workers on a rotational basis, may handle any or all of the following: Inspect voters fingers for ink; find voters name on the voter Roll – have it signed and marked off;; issue Ballot Paper; give voter the appropriate instructions; Ink the finger of the voter; Act as ballot box guard or assist the PO and APO during counting and packing of materials or closing of polling station.

There are some larger venues in Fiji which have to 2500 to 3000 voters. Many of these venues will need someone to assist and guide them to their respective polling stations, there the FEO will recruit VQCs:

Venue Queue Controller
Paid a package of $166.00 for work they will do. This will include the overall logistics management for the polling venue. Provide all assistance necessary to Presiding Officers on queries, complaints, voter flow and provision of materials. Manage voter flow. Provide voting assistance include assisting persons with disabilities. Maintain contact with Area and Divisional Offices with updates on progress and any other particular issues.

There are other positions available, such as pre-poll staffing, counting staff as well as civic educators which will be advertised in the daily newspapers, as well as on our website and Facebook pages.

We are committed to ensuring that polling is convenient for voters – walk into a polling venue, wait for your turn to cast your vote and once this is done, leave satisfied that the entire process was handled efficiently and did not leave you frustrated.

Election Officials who want to join us will have to demonstrate the highest degree of professionalism, patience, courtesy and then after training, sound knowledge of the electoral processes that they have to implement.

Please bring excellent customer services as a trade when you come to apply.

This Recruitment Drive ladies and gentlemen will be led by the Fijian Elections Office’s Director Corporate Services Mr. Sanjeshwar Ram and his team. Mr. Ram and his team will look after the recruitment, training, contracting as well as the logistical operations around the recruitment of polling day workers.

Now to interactions on our social media platforms, we have noted that there is a high level of interest in joining the 2018 Election team. This is very encouraging and today we have released to all interested parties how to apply, when to apply and where to apply. It is now on individuals to ensure that they follow the procedures, get their details updated on the voter cards as well as get the necessary documents so when they come to the Recruitment Centre they are able to complete the assessments correctly and successfully.

The details of the National Recruitment will be published in the newspapers and will be posted to the FEO website www.fijielects2018.org.fj/eofficials and on the Fijian Elections Office Facebook pages.

We have also set up a dedicated helpline 1501 for any queries that potential recruits may have. This helpline will be activated from 28 July 2017 and will be operational from 8 am to 5 pm only.

With these words ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to thank you for joining us this evening. Before I conclude, I’d like to say that the FEO’s firm belief is that the Elections belong to the people of Fiji and they should be allowed to take ownership of the process by participating and getting involved.

I’d like to thank anybody who has an interest in joining the team for the 2018 General Election and I wish you all the best.

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu.

-Ends-

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

Click here to download the pdf

Statement by the Supervisor of Elections
Mr Mohammed Saneem
Trainer positions for 2018 General Election Advertised Thursday 1 June, 2017
10.00am

Bula Vinaka.
This morning I would like to announce the commencement of the recruitment process for Trainers for the 2018 General Elections.
We will advertise these positions in the newspapers tomorrow and on the FEO website by this afternoon. The FEO will shortlist 100 suitably qualified and skilled persons to train Election Officials for the 2018 General Election. They will undergo a special Electoral Training of Trainers Program before the final 80 Trainers are appointed.

Just like in 2014, the FEO will directly train the entire 17,000 Election Officials around the country in approximately 900 plus training sessions. However, this time the FEO plans to conduct an initial training directly after recruitment followed by a refresher training closer to the Election once we know the date for Election.

The 80 casual, short-term positions will be spread out around the country, and interested applicants are required to state their preferred location in their applications. In total there are18 locations in total for which we will need trainers.

The locations are:

  • Suva
  • Navua
  • Sigatoka
  •  Nadi
  •  Lautoka
  •  Ba
  •  Tavua
  •  Rakiraki
  •  Nabouwalu
  •  Saqani
  •  Korovou
  •  Nausori
  •  Labasa
  • Savusavu
  • Seaqaqa
  • Taveuni
  • Levuka
  • Rotuma

The advertisements will state the requirements in these locations.

For the 2018 General Election recruitment for trainers program, many of the training days will be on weekends, so those in weekday employment are still encouraged to apply without hassle to their daily routine. These position will be advantageous for persons who may have Training of Trainers, Teacher Training Certificate, Workplace Trainer or equivalent skills and qualifications.

In terms of pay, shortlisted candidates who attend the 1-week Training of Trainers Program followed by the assessment within this period, they will be paid at the rate of $25,000 per annum for this period.

The successful candidates who thereafter conduct Trainings will be paid for the training sessions that they conduct on a package basis. The package details are as follows:

• 4 hr Round one Training – $150/per person/ per session (inclusive of FNPF & Tax)
• Full day (8hr) Sessions – $300/per person/ per session (inclusive of FNPF & Tax)

These have been packed at a higher rate so as to attract the best people to train the Election Officials for the 2018 General Election.

Trainers form the backbone of the FEO as they will directly train those official who will be working on the ground during the elections. There’ll be about 12,000 Election Officials who will be out and about during the 2018 General Election.

Of course, we have been working on tweaking the training content since the review of the 2014 General Election as we hope to enhance consistency in polling operations. We hope to improve on the operation aspects of the conduct of election and reduce complaints received in the 2014 General Election.

The FEO operates in a politically sensitive environment. As such, any person who is, or is seen to be, active in political affairs, and intends to carry on this activity, may compromise the strict political neutrality of the FEO and cannot therefore be considered for employment. All applicants for employment must declare any current political activity, and must sign and return the declaration provided in the Applicant Information Package as part of their application for employment that they do not intend to carry on this political activity whilst employed by the FEO.

Interested applicants can retrieve more intricate details of the position on the vacancies section of the FEO website or in advertisements in the local daily newspapers.

Applications for Trainer positions close on 16 June 2017 at 4pm.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

Click here to find information on Trainer Positions 

Vote of thanks by the Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

THE LAUNCH OF VOTERCARD 2.0 AND THE FIJI NATIONAL POLLING VENUE DIRECTORIES

RAISING THE STANDARDS IN THE DELIVERY OF ELECTIONS IN FIJI

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Members of the Electoral Commission

Members of the Diplomatic Community

Invited guests, ladies and gentlemen

It is my humble task this morning to deliver the vote of thanks.

I would like to first start with thanking the Almighty for showering his blessings on us, for all of us who are present here today.

I would like to thank all our esteemed guests for taking out their time to come to this event – thank you very much for your partnership.

In 2014, ladies and gentlemen, we were joined by an inspiring and very charming person.

She joined us in the busiest period of the process when our Human Resources team was actually in the process of recruiting about 10,000 PDWs [polling day workers]. Her name was Elenoa Lavetiviti. Elenoa quickly grew above everybody in the office. She was an active member of the FEO team coming up with some very bright ideas. I remember the day she told me, “You know I have to catch the cab to work every day because there is no access in
the bus.”

We tried our best to make arrangements for her to be transported to work.

Although she suffered from physical disability, having been confined to a wheelchair, Elenoa was one of the most energetic person in the office. She never lets her disability stand in the way of her work. Her commitment and dedication deserves a medal.

Sadly, Elenoa left us before the 2014 General Election but her spirit lived on in our office. In
the process of developing our newsletter to enhance information access regarding elections, we hunted for a name for a long time. In fact, if you look at our strategic plan, our newsletter was supposed to have been out this time last year.

We could not find a name – there were things like BALLOT, and VALID. There were things like RESULTS, then there were things like TO PARLIAMENT. None of them settled until one day the word LAVETIVITI came to mind. This was Elenoa’s last name. But it means LIFTING FIJI. We felt that this was the best and the most appropriate name to be dedicated to the newsletter. The late Elenoa, in her very powerful and inspiring way, still kept on inspiring and empowering us as we continue with our journey towards the next election.

I would like to acknowledge the presence of Elenoa’s parents here today and I thank them for joining us. I know this is a vote of thanks but there is a small event part of the vote of thanks that deserves to be here. May I please invite the late Elenoa’s parents to the forefront.

I invite the Chairman of the Electoral Commission to please step forward as the FEO would like to give a memorabilia to sir and madam to commemorate the late Elenoa Lavetiviti.

[Presentation of the memorabilia and token of appreciation to the late Elenoa’s parents].

Ladies and gentlemen, you have in your hands the first edition of the newsletter called LAVETIVITI. We would like to commemorate the memories and the inspiration that we had from the late Elenoa.

Thank you very much.

I would like to move to my task at hand.

Today’s programme marks the conclusion of various projects initiated by the FEO through its 2015 – 2019 Strategic Plan.

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all our partners, suppliers, donors as well as experts that helped our team lead and complete all these projects.

I would like to welcome our new director communications, Patricia Mallam – we welcome you to the hotline of elections Ms Mallam. It gets hotter as we go.

I would like to thank our ongoing directors, Ms Anaseini Senimoli and Mr Sanjeshwar Ram – thank you very much for leading the teams to successfully completing these major projects.

As the Chairman has said, Fijians deserve the best elections that we can deliver. You have all toiled very hard and long to all my colleagues at the back of the room. Your rewards will be when Fijians hold the voter card in their hands and say “WOW”. That is your reward. Do not expect someone to come and say ‘Thank you’. But your reward will be when you see all Fijians use that voter card to get their next bank accounts opened or actually we should say,
when they come to vote.

Ladies and gentlemen, these projects are a completion of projects that were planned from 2015 when we developed our first Strategic Plan. I would like to say that the FEO Strategic Plan delivery is well on time.

The website has been vastly improved to allow members of the public, political parties, the interested regional and international organisations and many of FEO’s partners to learn about our updates. Features that have also been included is that you can subscribe to our website and if we update anything on our website, the website is going to send you an email.

This will be especially important for political parties considering the decisions of the Electoral Commission will now be uploaded directly to the website as a means of publication.

The Electoral Commission itself now has a website on its own. This website should prove useful to people who wish to learn about the Electoral Commission events as well as to deal with complaints about the process and is they wish to contact the Electoral Commission.

I would like to acknowledge several staff who were with us when this project was ongoing but have now left us. One of them is Sheikh Qasim. He is here with us today. Thank you very much for your energy and for your very enthusiastic handling of the project for the completion of the website. I can say no further for he might form a company and start opening website development services and then I might have to be the referee. But he has
done a very good job with our website and I hope that the team that are continuing will make good use of the platform.

Ladies and gentlemen, I just wanted to say that there is another Facebook page that the FEO has also opened, which is ‘Fiji Elects 2018’. It would be slightly informal in nature and try to convey the message to young voters in Fiji.

Lastly, before I finish, I would like to thank each and every one of you for taking time out and
attending this event.

A special thanks to the Chairman and the Commission for hosting this event for us. And thank you very much to the people that put this together, the Events Management company, the Communications team, the graphics and the Corporate team and especially to the MC for today, our Director Corporate.

Having said that, thank you, vinaka vakalevu, dhanyewaad and shukria.

-ENDS-

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-

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

 

21 February 2017

 

On 3 February 2017, I and six others were appointed by His Excellency the President as Electoral Commissioners in accordance with Section 75 of the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji.

 

In accordance with Section 75 of the Constitution, the Electoral Commission is responsible for the following in addition to any other powers under any other law:

  1. the registration of citizens as voters, and the regular revision of the Register of Voters;
  2. voter education;
  3. the registration of candidates for election;
  4. the settlement of electoral disputes, including disputes relating to or arising from nominations, but excluding election petitions and disputes subsequent to the declaration of election results; and
  5. monitoring and enforcing compliance with any written law governing elections and political parties.

 

As Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, I will work alongside my fellow Commissioners, the Supervisor of Elections and the Fijian Elections Office to ensure that all election activities are conducted in line with the Fijian Constitution and all other laws governing elections and that all Fijians receive election services of the highest possible quality.

 

I commend the FEO on the work achieved so far in preparation for the upcoming General Election and look forward to doing my part to contribute to these preparatory efforts.

 

I have already led our first meeting today at which it was decided to award the seat vacated in Parliament due to the resignation of Roko Tupou Draunidalo to Mr. Pramod Chand of the National Federation Party.

 

I speak on behalf of the entire Electoral Commission when I express our steadfast commitment to adhere to the highest standards of transparency, fairness and accountability in our work alongside our partners leading up to the 2018 General Election.

 

— ENDS —

Address by Supervisor of Elections,

Mr Mohammed Saneem

First Aid and CPR Training

16 November 2016

 

 

 

Mr. Riaz, Facilitator Fiji Red Cross

Participants

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all

 

I warmly welcome you to this two-day First Aid & CPR Training.

 

For most participants this is the first time to attend this Fijian Electoral Education Centre (FEEC) organized training on First Aid and CPR which is in line with Fijian Elections Office [FEO] Strategic Goal: 8 Objective 3 which is to provide capacity building programs for the Fijian Elections Office staff.

 

It is important for everyone to have basic knowledge on first aid. This is because the first assistance or treatment, which is given to a person in case of sudden injury or illness prior to getting professional care is significantly important in saving the lives, promote recovery and to prevent further damage to injured person.

 

Not every incident that requires first aid is a life-or-death situation, but first aid can help in minor incidents. You will get all the information you need from this training – and I am confident you will remember it when you are faced with real life situation.

 

We know you won’t always have specialist first aid equipment on hand, but this training will show you how to improvise in an emergency. After all this is “first aid” – you need to be able to act before the professionals get there.

 

Imagine everything that First aid may help to improve; from the outcome of many accidents, before professional medical help arrives. Such help may at times make a difference between life and death.  To sustaining the injured and helping prevent the condition from worsening. First Aid can also help hasten recovery in some situations. If I had to choose another good substitute for the term “first aid”, it would be “miracle”.

 

You would be pleased to know that being first aid ready is essentially easy. Done with your family and friends it can also be fun. As you will all to get to witness from the exhibits and demonstrations today and tomorrow, it doesn’t take much to learn how to bandage a fractured arm, stem bleeding, help a chocking victim or provide cardio pulmonary resuscitation(CPR) or the ‘kiss of life’ [as it is affectionately called] to someone who has lost consciousness and is not breathing. Acquiring these skills could in future help a family member, a friend or your next-door neighbor.

 

I also want to talk to you about worker safety. Every year, numerous workers are injured around the world which results in them missing work. Thankfully, at the FEO our safety record is better than the general workforce.

 

Whilst our workplace safety figures is not a concern, as your employer, as your Supervisor, I am responsible and devoted to creating a habit of excellence. I believe that safety will be an indicator that we’re making progress in changing our habits across the entire organisation. That’s how we should be judged.

 

I am indeed very encouraged to see all invited staff present this morning and would like to commend FEEC for organizing this two-days training.

 

I am also be very encouraged to see the participation of the Fiji Red Cross  in joining hands with FEO to heighten awareness of the importance of first aid in our workplace and thereon, our community.

 

Which is why we’re grateful that Red Cross, an organization that is well known for its disaster response activities, will be assisting in this training. As an organisation which primes itself for emergency and disaster response, it plays an integral role in promoting first aid readiness and equipping Fijians with lifesaving skills that would not only be useful during disasters, but also to face emergencies when they occur in daily situations.

 

I would like to take the opportunity to wish all participants well during this two-day training and also congratulate you in advance. You have certainly helped to reinforce the importance of first aid in this organisation.

 

Remember First aid doesn’t just facilitate recovery. It helps save lives.

 

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu

—ENDS—

Mr Mohammed Saneem

Signing of Terms of Reference

 Electoral Security Advisory Group

Fijian Election Office, Fiji Police Force and Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption

15 November 2016

 

Commissioner of Police

Deputy Commissioner, Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption

Colleagues of the Electoral Security Advisory Group

Members of the Media

 

 

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

 

I would like to welcome you all to the signing of the Terms of Reference, Electoral Security Advisory Group [ESAG] between, Fijian Elections Office [FEO], Fiji Police Force and Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption [FICAC].

This group “Electoral Security Advisory Group” stemmed 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, FICAC and FEO and they collectively agreed that a working committee, Election Security Advisory Group be formed and be responsible in planning for electoral security for the next General election.

 

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

 

It is an internationally recognized electoral principle to have peaceful elections. Security is inescapable in this process and can affect both the actual, and perceived, legitimacy of the electoral outcomes.  An equitably secure environment for electoral participants is fundamental to their engagement in the process, and by extension, the goal of an election itself.

 

Thus it is imperative to draw on information and expertise from security agencies and develop communications and coordination among the agencies responsible for the administration and security of an elections.

 

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

 

The core responsibilities of the ESAG will be:

  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.

 

I wish ESAG all the best in the   planning for electoral security for the 2018 General election.

 

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu

—ENDS—

Closing Remarks, Fijian Electoral Commission Chairman, Mr Chen Bunn Young

The Supervisor of Elections,

Participants,

Colleagues from the Fijian Elections Office.

 

Bula Vinaka

It is my pleasure to join you for the closing of this training program on an internationally recognised electoral programme ‘Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections’ [BRIDGE].

 

But first of all I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] for organizing this important BRIDGE training program ‘Introduction to Elections’.

I understand FEO embarked on this early commission of training for political party agent to give effect to the Multinational Observer Group [MOG] Report recommendations.

 

The MOG report stated 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’.

 

This BRIDGE Module had provided participants with valuable knowledge about elections – the processes that are involved, as well as allowed participants to conduct comparisons with practices from the region.

 

I would like to thank all of you here for making this training a success through your valuable contributions and active participation throughout the training and especially during the question and answer sessions.

 

The aim of this training was to provoke discussions among members of different political parties and FEO over the best ways to conduct the 2018 general elections.

 

And a special appreciation to the lead facilitator for the workshop Mr. Brian Latham and co facilitators, Ms Hamidan Bibi and Ms Ana Mataiciwa for an excellent coordination and execution of this training program.

 

As the three days training program concludes today, my message to the political parties as we lead up to 2018 general elections, is for political parties to maintain constant contact with FEO and take advantage of such trainings, so that they are well versed with the best electoral practices.

 

I urge all the political parties to assist FEO in creating voter awareness, and become advocates in promoting to electorates the importance of participating in electoral process. This electoral capacity building should be carried out on a continuous basis and not just to the lead up to the 2018 general elections.

 

This is our closing ceremony but I hope this closing will not be the end but the beginning of our concerted efforts on sharing best international electoral practices.

 

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu

 

—ENDS—

Speech by the Supervisor of Elections

 

H.E. Mr.Mark Ramsden,

Participants,

Colleagues from the Fijian Elections Office,

And the media

 

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

 

I would like to welcome you all to the three day workshop on an internationally recognised electoral programme ‘Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections’ [BRIDGE].

 

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.

 

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.

 

Organised by the 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’.

 

Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, in line with this reflection, FEO has conducted seven [7] BRIDGE training workshops since 2015.

 

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.

 

The lead facilitator for the workshop Mr. Latham 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.

 

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.

 

On behalf of the Fijian Elections Office, I wish you all the best for the three [3] days workshop and urge  all participants to pick up on key basic knowledge in the field of election which will assist them to better prepare themselves and their parties for future elections.

 

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu

 

–ENDS–