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.