9 May 2006

Voting in Fiji continues amid organisational problems

1:52 pm on 9 May 2006

Voters continue to face problems on the third day of Fiji's general elections although the process is much better than the chaos and confusion experienced earlier.

Many voters are still turning up at polling stations but have been unable to vote because their names are missing from the electoral rolls.

Other voters have been angered when they found that they were registered in the wrong rolls.

Some people are still not able to cast valid votes because they do not understand how to vote in the preferential system.

Villagers have been reported upset because officials were not able to open some rural polling stations on time.

In another case, a designated polling station at Suva Grammar School did not open at all today and the polling was shifted to another nearby venue, causing great inconvenience to political parties.

While hundreds of people have waited in long queues in heavy rain, others have become frustrated and turned away without casting their votes.

But tens of thousands of others including the sick, the infirm, the elderly, the handicapped and the disabled have been voting despite all the problems.

The supervisor of elections, Semesa Karavaki, says the polling process will improve as voting progresses.

Meanwhile, an assistant presiding officer for voting at Nadi, Asenaca Mara, has been relieved of her duties after police charged her with stealing over 3,600 US dollars intended for election expenses.