21 Nov 2003

Fiji court dismisses challenge to one day by-election in Labasa

10:31 am on 21 November 2003

The Suva High Court has dismissed the Fiji Labour Party's application challenging the decision of the Elections Office to hold next month's Labasa by-election on just one day.

Previous elections in Fiji have been spread over several days but the coming by-election for the Labasa Indian seat will be held on only one day, December 6th.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, had taken the Elections Office and the supervisor of elections, Semesa Karivaki, to court seeking a judicial review of the one day by-election.

Fiji TV reports that Justice Michael Scott dismissed the application, saying he will give his full reasons later.

Mr Karivaki has welcomed the ruling, saying it favours changes they are putting in place to make the election process more efficient.

Mr Karivaki says Fiji is only a small democracy and has the capacity to hold by-elections and even general elections in one day.

The Labasa Indian communal by-election is being contested by Labour, the National Federation Party, the ruling SDL and by a disgruntled former Labour supporter who is standing as an independent.