7 Oct 2005

Fiji elections office rejects Chaudhry allegations

8:57 am on 7 October 2005

The Fiji Elections Office has rejected allegations of deliberate irregularities in voter registration and says next year's polls will be free and fair.

The opposition leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, had said there was a deliberate campaign to disenfranchise voters in Indian communal constituencies by omitting to register them altogether or by registering them incorrectly.

He says voters have been assigned to the wrong constituencies and in many cases the disabled and elderly were told that they were not qualified to register because they were not physically fit to queue at the polling stations.

But the acting supervisor of elections, Tomasi Tui says the allegations are unfounded and an attack on the integrity of the Elections Office.

Mr Tui says teething problems were found in the early stages of voter registration and corrected, with the integrity of the electoral rolls as the key objective.

He says a recent house to house campaign has seen 300,000 voters already registered.