15 Feb 2006

Leading Fiji NGO says too late to change voting system

4:12 pm on 15 February 2006

A leading non-governmental organisation in Fiji isn't happy with the voting system, but it says it should stay the same for this year's general election.

The prime minister Laisenia Qarase says cabinet's decided to stick to the provisions of the Electoral Act and maintain the Alternative Vote system.

The programmes director at the Citizen's Constitutional Forum, Jone Dakuvula, says the complex system has meant too many voters haven't been able to state their intentions.

"Fiji has the highest invalid ballot papers in the world. In the last election it was 11 per cent of the ballot papers were invalid. In 1999, it was over nine per cent. And this change I don't think it will improve things."

The Fiji elections office says its voter education programme aims to reduce the number of spoiled ballots by 90 per cent.