We host top elections talks at Nadi
Fijian Elections Office hosts meet
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.