Appeal Court Ruling Means Commission, Supervisor of Elections Should work together
The recent ruling by the Court of Appeal regarding the cut-off time for when objections on political party candidates’ nomination ends, will assist the Office of Supervisor of Elections in 2018.
The previous interpretation of Sections 30 and 31 of the Electoral Decree 2014 were, that the three days given to the Electoral Commission to rule on objections and applications for review ends at 4pm on the third day. The Court of Appeal has ruled that the third day ends at midnight and that the Electoral Commission has time till midnight to rule on applications and objections.
The ruling has given clarity for the 2018 general elections about questions regarding this issue and the responsibilities of the Electoral Commission and the Supervisor of Elections.
But, it is important to note that the ruling has no bearing on the outcome of 2014 elections. This is more of an administrative matter which will ensure ample time is provided to vet applications and objections on nominations of prospective candidates for 2018.
The Fijian Elections Office has an important role to play building up to the 2014 elections. Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem and his team took the country to the polls under a new set of rules and guidelines. Because they are new, there could be questions asked. So far their efforts have been very commendable. The negligible number of invalid votes was a first for this country.
Their continuing efforts to update the national voter registration list and the technology they are using will ensure that incidents of voter fraud are eliminated for the 2018 general election. This ruling encourages both the commission and the Fijian Elections Office to work together heading into 2018.