Two years to Earliest Potential Writ Day – Statement by EC Chair, Mr Suresh Chandra

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Mr Suresh Chandra

Voting Screen Handover

Suva – 09/03/2018

Bula Vinaka ladies and gentleman, and thank you for joining us.

I have a few announcements to make today but I would like to start by reminding everyone that tomorrow, we will be exactly two years away from a potential Writ Day.

26 May 2022 is the earliest date on which the Writ for the next General Election can be issued.

The next General Election is not far away and the Electoral Commission (EC) would like to address a few important matters as we head into pre-electoral preparations for the next election.

1. The Candidate’s Eligibility Requirements
We would like to remind potential candidates to be wary of their residential status if they are keen on meeting the candidate’s eligibility requirements in the next election.

Residency qualification, was an issue faced by several candidates in the 2014 and 2018 general elections.

The Electoral Act 2014, Section 23 (4) (c) states a person is eligible to be nominated as a candidate for election to Parliament only if the person is ordinarily resident in Fiji for at least 2 years immediately before being nominated.

If you are planning to contest in the next General Election, as per section 23 (5) of the Electoral Act, 2014 you will need to be in the country for an aggregate period of not less than 18 months out of the two years immediately after being nominated.

2. Ball draw for Ballot Papers
One year from now, the EC will be conducting a ball draw to select the first number that will appear on the Ballot Paper for the next General Election.

The numbers used in the 2018 General Election will not be used again.

The number draw is pursuant to Section 36(2) (c) of the Electoral Act 2014. The Act outlines that the Electoral Commission is required to approve the first, three-digit number of the Ballot Paper.

The conduct of a public draw promotes the principles of transparency which is essential to the electoral process.

3. Provisional Polling Venue List
In preparation for the next General Election, the FEO is publishing the List of Provisional Polling Venues it intends to use.

The Provisional List can be accessed through the FEO website.

The List currently contains 1,423 Polling Venues including Election Day and Pre-Poll venues. These are the same Polling Venues that were used in the 2018 General Election.

The FEO will conduct its verification process on the availability and suitability of those venues towards the end of this year.

In the 2018 General Election Joint Report, the EC had recommended FEO to propose a full list of venues at least two years prior to the first date the Writ can be issued.

The framework also requires that at least a three (months) consultation process is available for comments and suggestions from Political Parties and stakeholders in respect of those Polling Venues.

Hence, we are inviting interested individuals and stakeholders to provide FEO with feedback on these Polling Venues by using the Online Survey available on the Polling Venue Locator App at www.pvl.feo.org.fj.

4. Phasing out of VoterCard 1.0
I would also like to announce that the FEO has decided to extend the phasing out of VoterCard 1.0 or the green coloured VoterCard to 30 June 2021.

The decision was made considering the current COVID-19 crisis. We are in difficult times and as such we do not want to burden voters with having to rush and replace their VoterCards.

Therefore, voters who are still holding onto the green coloured VoterCard now have one more year to upgrade to VoterCard 2.0 or the blue coloured VoterCard.

5. Online Register for Political Parties
We are pleased to announce the launch of the Online Register for Political Parties.
In line with its 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) has developed an Online Register of Political Parties, so any voter or member of the public requiring any information on Political Parties can access the register for the information they need.

Ladies and gentleman, allow me to show you the Online Register.

1. Go to the FEO website at www.feo.org.fj
2. Navigate to Political Parties menu under the Elections tab
3. Click on Political Parties Register

The online register has the name of the Party, the details of the Registered Officer, names of office holders and the date of registration.

Ladies and gentleman, I would like to conclude by saying that the FEO, under the guidance of the EC, has already kick-started pre-electoral preparations and we are going all out to ensure that every process pertaining to a successful General Election is carried out with the highest levels of quality and transparency.

 

Thank you very much for coming today.

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