The Fiji Times
‘Need to tackle anomalies’
ANOMALIES within the 2013 Constitution must be addressed before municipal council elections are conducted next year.
This was the sentiment of Navua resident Bimal Chaudary at the local government electoral process consultations at the Suva Civic Center on Monday.
Mr Chaudary claimed that before the 2022 General Election political parties had highlighted more than 100 anomalies, but only few amendments were made.
He said the Ministry of Local Government must address the shortfalls before conducting the elections.
“Here we are making rules to align local government elections now in line with that draconian Constitution, with that unfair electoral system. It’s something detrimental to the ideas and principles of democracy,” he said.
Moreover, Mr Chaudary said it was prematurely cooked up because the parties in government did not have ownership of these proposals.
“How can you expect the parties which are in Government today, which were opposing the Constitution, opposing the electoral system, opposing the ideas and principles from which this systematic constitutional dictatorship has been built in this country, to go into government and change from white to black and say ‘no’, what we are opposing in previous years is now good for us because we are now in Government, no way.”
Local Government permanent secretary Seema Sharma said the team would take the suggestion on board.
“The working group has the task of going back to the basics and finding out how we should go and get elections done,” Ms Sharma said.
She said the ministry was reviewing the Local Government Act 1972 to have the proposed amendment Act aligned with the national system.
Ms Sharma said once the 13 public consultations around the country were completed, the team would compile a report for Cabinet endorsement and tabling in Parliament.
The council municipal elections are expected to take place in the second half of next year.