Ap­peal Court Rul­ing Means Com­mis­sion, Su­per­vi­sor of Elec­tions Should work to­gether

Fiji Sun - - Comment - JYOTI PRATIBHA Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

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.

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