10 Feb 2006

Thousands of Fiji citizens living overseas unable to vote

10:36 am on 10 February 2006

Thousands of Fiji citizens living and working abroad will not be able to register or vote in this year's general elections.

Fiji TV reports that they include the 3,000 Fiji nationals in the British army as well as nurses and care-givers in private employment abroad.

The report says the Solicitor General's Office has advised the Elections Office that Fiji passport holders who have not been in the country for at least two years before registering are not eligible to vote.

The Elections Office says voter numbers affected by this could be quite substantial and a sizeable number of Fiji citizens overseas will not be eligible to vote.

It says this ruling will remain until the law is changed.

But people in the service of the state such as Fijian troops and police serving overseas, and diplomats will be able to register and vote in the normal way.