We host top elec­tions talks at Nadi

Fi­jian Elec­tions Of­fice hosts meet

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - Words and Photo: Li­tia Tiko­mailepanoni

A proud mo­ment for At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter Re­spon­si­ble for Elec­tions Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Su­per­vi­sor of Elec­tions Mo­hammed Sa­neem last night in Nadi. It came as Fiji be­gan host­ing the first col­lab­o­ra­tive meet­ing between the Com­mon­wealth Elec­toral Net­work and the Pa­cific Is­lands, Aus­tralia and New Zealand Elec­toral Ad­min­is­tra­tors (PIANZEA)Net­work to dis­cuss prin­ci­ples of elec­toral in­tegrity in the Pa­cific. The joint meet­ing in­cludes se­nior rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 18 Pa­cific Elec­tion Man­age­ment Bod­ies and is hosted by the Fi­jian Elec­tions Of­fice. Ob­servers from seven in­ter­na­tional and re­gional or­gan­i­sa­tions are also at­tend­ing. At the open­ing at the Westin De­na­rau Is­land Re­sort & Spa last night are (from left): Mr Sa­neem, Com­mon­wealth Elec­toral Net­work chair Is­sack Has­san, and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter Re­spon­si­ble for Elec­tions Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the cred­i­bil­ity of the 2014 Gen­eral Elec­tions was highly le­git­i­mate in that only 0.7 per cent of to­tal votes were in­valid. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum made the com­ments dur­ing the open­ing of the Pa­cific Elec­toral Net­works Meet­ing at the Westin De­na­rau Is­land Re­sort and Spa last night. He com­pared this to the 2006 Gen­eral Elec­tion where the in­valid votes to­talled 9.2 per cent of the to­tal votes. The meet­ing is be­ing hosted by the Fi­jian Elec­tions Of­fice in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Com­mon­wealth Sec­re­tariat and the Pa­cific Is­lands, Aus­tralia and New Zealand Elec­toral Ad­min­is­tra­tors ( PIANZEA) Net­work. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said all this stemmed from the ap­point­ment of cred­i­ble peo­ple to po­si­tions within the elec­toral body.

“It is im­por­tant that ca­pac­i­ties were built within elec­toral man­age­ment boards,” he said.

“All elec­tions of­fices must have in­tegrity.”

He said pre­vi­ously, the elec­tions of­fice was small and be­came dys- func­tional af­ter elec­tions. “They were then given fresh oxy­gen just be­fore elec­tions and then a cou­ple of thou­sands of peo­ple started work­ing and then they dis­ap­peared af­ter the elec­tions,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said. “Now we have a per­ma­nent Su­per­vi­sor of Elec­tions and about 50 staff work­ing full­time, whether there is elec­tions or not. “We need to build ca­pac­ity in the elec­tions.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said many coun­tries ap­pointed of­fi­cials for the elec­tions of­fice through cor­rup­tion or non-merit base.

“It is im­por­tant that for the elec­tions of­fice to have that cred­i­bil­ity amongst the vot­ers, the peo­ple who con­duct it must be ap­pointed on merit.”

The di­rec­tor of the Po­lit­i­cal Divi­sion of the Com­mon­wealth Sec­re­tariat Si­mon Gim­son said the meet­ing demon­strated the high pri­or­ity the Com­mon­wealth and its mem­ber states placed in con­tin­u­ally rais­ing elec­toral stan­dards and the in­tegrity of elec­tions.

Photo: Li­tia Tiko­mailepanoni

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