Posts tagged Elections

VOTER AND BIRTH REGISTRATION DRIVE IN LAU GROUP

A team from the Elections Office is visiting the Lau Group of Islands from tomorrow to display the National Register of Voters and to encourage new voter registrations.

They will be joined by staff from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Office, who will encourage anyone whose birth has not been officially registered to come forward and do so.

The Minister for Justice and Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said that the Bainimarama Government is committed to providing these important services to people living in isolated communities, who normally do not have easy access to them.

Fijians in the Lau Group will be able to check their entries in the Nation Register of Voters and those not yet registered to vote, including those who have recently turned 18, will be able to do so.

While the team from the Elections Office carries out its work, the team from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Office will be encouraging Fijians to register any unrecorded births.

This includes not only children but adults who may not have been registered at birth and as a consequence, don’t have marriage certificates because these require a birth certificate.

The Government is also concerned that many deaths in isolated areas are not being formally registered.

“It is important for Fijians to register their births so that they can have easier access to vital government services such as health care and education,” the Attorney-General said.

He stressed that no blame was being attached to anyone who had not registered because the Government recognised that this was often a product of isolation and the neglect of past governments.

“By contrast, the Bainimarama Government has made it a top priority to bring Government services closer to Fijians living in rural and maritime communities, and this tour of the Lau Group is an example of that commitment,” he said.

The first stop on the tour is Cicia Island tomorrow (Monday January 13th).

The tour will then travel to the following locations in the Lau Group:

14/1 Tuvuca Island
15/1 Cikobia
16/1 Nabavatu
17/1 Lomaloma
18/1 Lakeba
19/1 Komo
21/1 Kabara
22/1 Vatoa
23/1 Ono-i-Lau
24/1 Matuku
25/1 Moala

The Attorney-General added that similar tours to other remote and maritime areas in Fiji will be launched in the near future.

MEMBERS OF ELECTORAL COMMISSION ANNOUNCED

The members of the Electoral Commission that will supervise the 2014 general election have been announced.

The Commission is made up of seven prominent citizens from various walks of life headed by its Chair, leading legal practitioner Chen Bunn Young, who’s a former President of the Fiji Law Society.

The other members are academic Professor Vijay Naidu of USP, the tourism industry leader and marketing expert, James Sowane, accountant and financial advisor Jenny Seeto, the filmmaker and media specialist, Larry Thomas, electoral expert and priest, Father David Arms, and the educationalist and civil society leader, Alisi Daurewa.

The Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said each member of the Commission brings a unique perspective and set of skills to the task of supervising the first genuine democratic election in Fiji’s history.

“All of these outstanding individuals are credible, apolitical and together, will bring integrity to the Commission’s work. They will also make their individual contributions, whether it’s high- level legal expertise in the case of Chen Bunn Young, marketing expertise in the case of James Sowane, financial expertise in the case of Jenny Seeto, existing electoral expertise in the case of Father Arms, communications expertise in the case of Larry Thomas and the broad educational a social expertise of Professor Naidu and Alisi Daurewa”.

“I want to thank them all for accepting their roles on the Commission, which is a vital component of the Bainimarama Government’s plan to hold a free and fair election to the very highest international standards”, he said.

Under the terms of the 2013 Constitution, the Electoral Commission is responsible for the registration of voters and the conduct of free and fair elections.

It is also responsible for voter education, the registration of candidates for election, the settlement of electoral disputes and monitoring and enforcing compliance with any written law governing elections and political parties.

Under the Constitution, the Chair of the Commission needs to either be a judge or a legal practitioner who is able to become a judge, a provision fulfilled by Chen Bunn Young, a senior Lautoka- based solicitor and barrister.

In a related development, the Elections Office has announced that it will soon be seeking applications for 34 key posts in the Office. Within those categories are a total of 230 positions. They include the Deputy Supervisor of Elections, the Director of Electoral Procedures, the Director of Corporate Services and the Director of Communications.

Another 160 staff will be recruited in a second phase later in the year and an additional 14,000 throughout Fiji for the day of the election itself.

SIX ELECTIONS EXPERTS TO VISIT FIJI IN COMING MONTHS

Six elections experts are due to visit Fiji at different times over the course of the next two months to assist with all the various aspects of preparations for the 2014 parliamentary poll.

New ZealandAustralia and the European Union will each be providing two experts.

“The list of elections experts was finalised yesterday at a meeting of a sub-committee of development partners, including representatives from Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union,” said Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

“These experts will review the gap-analysis reports produced by New Zealand, the European Union and the Commonwealth, and will work with the Bainimarama Government, the Elections Office, and the soon-to-be-appointed Electoral Commission to finalise planning for all aspects related to the 2014 election,” he said.

The Attorney-General mentioned that this would include identifying polling stations, developing a specific list of material needs,  drafting the rules and regulations that will guide the electoral process, and establishing a fair and transparent system for the hiring of elections staff on merit and for their training.

“By the end of this process, we will have a detailed plan for carrying out next year’s election, which will not only ensure that  it will be fair, transparent and credible, but will also assist our development partners to know exactly how and where they can contribute,” he said.

EVR NUMBERS CONTINUE TO CLIMB

The number of voters registered for the 2014 election has soared past 528,000, with four days to go in the latest phase of Electronic Voter Registration.

The Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said the Government was delighted by the high turnout, which was averaging around one thousand a day.

“Fijians continue to respond eagerly to the opportunity to register, which clearly demonstrates how enthusiastic they are to take part in the elections next year”, he said. 22,295 people have registered since the current phase began on June the 3rd.

The Minister urged those Fijians who are yet to register to take advantage of the remaining four days of the current EVR phase. “Our registration teams are at work right up until the end of Saturday so there is still ample time to sign up. This includes roving mobile teams in many rural areas plus fixed locations in cities and towns”, he said.

The Minister said those Fijians who were immobile or facing genuine difficulty in reaching their nearest registration centre could also arrange to have a team visit them at home. “Those wanting to avail themselves of this service can call our toll free number, 0800 3316000, and someone will come to them”, he said.

The Minister also reminded Fijians who have already registered to check their entries and have them corrected if necessary. “We are seeing up to a 100 people a day coming in and finding mistakes in the details of their original registration. This can be easily corrected so I urge voters to make the necessary checks”, he added.

After the present phase of registration ends on Saturday, the Government will be concentrating its efforts on registering Fijians living overseas. Details of this will be announced soon.

(The precise total registered so far is 528,136 as of yesterday, June 24th. Details of where to register are in the Fiji Sun or the elections website -www.electionsfiji.gov.fj – or on the Elections Office Facebook page.)

Government Calls for Hindi Translation of Constitution

The Fijian Government has called for expressions of interest (EOIs) from organisations and individuals to translate Fiji’s Constitution, which is currently being finalised, into contemporary Hindi.

“In order to ensure that all Fijians are able to fully understand the new Constitution, it will be published in all three major languages. While the Ministry of iTaukei affairs will provide the translation into the iTaukei language, Government is inviting EOIs to select the party most qualified and able to provide a contemporary Hindi translation,” said Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Anti-Corruption Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The Attorney-General said that carrying out the translations into iTaukei and Hindi was one of the final steps before Fiji’s Constitution would be ready.

“The Government has completed most of its revisions to the Draft Constitution, after careful consideration of the numerous submissions made by the Fijian people. One of the final steps remaining is to translate the constitution into Fiji’s two other major languages,” he said.

All EOIs must be submitted to the Office of the Attorney-General no later than 4.30 PM on Friday, 28 June 2013.

AG CHAIRS INAUGURAL MEETING OF ELECTIONS “COORDINATING COMMITTEE”

Yesterday [Monday June 10], Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum convened and chaired the inaugural meeting of an international committee to discuss assistance for Fijian Elections Office leading up to the 2014 parliamentary elections.

“This first meeting marks a significant step forward in Fiji’s preparations for the 2014 elections. The Bainimarama Government’s top priority is making sure that elections are conducted in a smooth, transparent and apolitical manner, using best international practices, unlike elections in the past. Partnership with the international community will help us achieve this,” said the Minister, speaking after the meeting.

The Coordinating Committee will be responsible for organising and coordinating member countries’ assistance for the 2014 elections.

Yesterday’s meeting included High Commissioners, Ambassadors and representatives from United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, India, France and Britain, as well as representatives from the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

It is also understood that other countries and organisations may join the Committee.

“The Committee has been organised to identify what resources each country is willing and able to contribute,” said the Minister.

Committee members are expected to report back to the Minister Responsible for Elections on what specific assistance their governments or organizations will be willing to provide to the Fijian Elections Office in preparation for the 2014 elections.

The Coordinating Committee will have its second meeting early next month.

Next Stage of EVR to Commence Next Month: AG Sayed Khaiyum

A new phase of Electronic Voter Registration for the 2014 parliamentary election will take place in selected areas of Fiji next month.

The Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said EVR would commence again in Naitasiri, Rewa, Ba and Macuata.

These are areas identified after the first and second rounds last year as recording a lower proportion of registrations than other parts of the country.

Teams from the Elections Office will visit the various areas over a four week period commencing on June 3rd until June 29th.

The Attorney-General said the specific schedule would be announced soon and details would be given on radio and television, in the Fiji Sun, and through the Office’s toll free number 0800-3316000 and its website www.electionsfiji.org

Advertisements in the media will commence later this week.

The AG urged all Fijians over the age of 18 who live in the targeted areas and have not yet registered, to do so.

“Only those who have registered will be able to vote next year so it is obviously important that Fijians take advantage of this phase”, he said.

The AG also said that those who had already registered would have the opportunity to check their registration details with the various roving teams.

“We want to ensure that anyone who is eligible to register is registered and to make sure that their details are correct”, he said.

Fiji 2013 Draft Constitution Explained by AG Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Fijian Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum talks on the importance of the consultations of the Draft Constitution, its significant changes and the need for people to better understand the changes and make submissions.

AG Sayed-Khaiyum’s Invitation to the World: Participate in 2014

The Fiji Government has invited the global community to participate in preparations for the 2014 general election.

A letter has been sent to the heads of all diplomatic missions in Fiji by the Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, laying out a timetable for election preparations and inviting them to take part.

A year ago, Fiji also invited other countries to participate in the successful Electronic Voter Registration (EVR) that continues in 2013.

The letter has also been sent to a range of multilateral agencies such as the United Nations Development Program, the Asian Development Bank, the International Labour Organisation and the Pacific Forum.

The Attorney-General says the Bainimarama Government has allocated $11.4 million dollars in the 2013 Budget for election preparations, including voter registration within Fiji and abroad, the recruitment of key personnel and the purchase of election materials such as ballot boxes.

He sets out several areas in which the global community can participate. The immediate priorities are planning the administration and logistics for the election, assessing the technical requirements of holding the poll and funding such things as the printing of ballot papers and voter lists.

In the second quarter of 2013 – the AG adds – Fiji invites participation to draft the rules and regulations for the election and also begin a program of civil education and awareness to educate Fijians on the new electoral system.

At the beginning of the third quarter of this year, the supply of election materials will commence. Expressions of Interest were advertised in Fiji last weekend for qualified companies to supply a range of items and advertisements are also being commissioned by Fiji’s diplomatic missions abroad.

“These preparations are for the first parliamentary elections ever conducted on the basis of one person, one vote, one value. We have a lot of ground to cover and we need the best possible preparations now to ensure a transparent process and state of preparedness. We need proper systems to guard against fraud and protect the integrity of the new parliament,” the Attorney-General added.