8 May 2006

Fiji's supervisor of elections accepts blame for chaos

8:06 am on 8 May 2006

Fiji's supervisor of elections has accepted full responsibility and blame for the chaos, confusion and long delays which marked the start of voting in the general election on Saturday.

Semesa Karavaki says what happened should not have happened and has apologied to voters.

Mr Karavaki has promised that things will be different as voting resumes today.

The Electoral Commission held an emergency meeting yesterday to address the problems encountered and has expressed regret at the delays and inconvenience experienced by voters.

In a statement, the commission says it does not believe that Saturday's problems will affect the free, fair and open conduct of the election.

On hundreds of voters who registered but could not vote when they arrived at polling stations because their names were not on the final electoral rolls, Mr Karavaki said nothing much could be done.

Meanwhile, police have warned that people who attempt to impersonate others and vote in their names will face harsh penalties.