15 May 2006

Vote counting under way in Fiji election

8:28 am on 15 May 2006

The vote count begins in Fiji this morning following a week of polling

across the archipelago.

The ballot boxes have been transferred to four centres where counting is now underway

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The results of 71 seats are to be counted by hand in a procedure that could take several days. If a candidate fails to get a majority of votes in the first round, all ballot papers in the constituency need to be recounted. This will add the second preference to the tally in a process to be repeated until a winner has been found. First results are expected tonight. The opposition Labour Party has decried irregularities but international observers say despite the shortcomings, the fairness of the poll cannot be called into question. There have been no opinion polls to guage the voters leanings but anecdotal evidence suggests a repeat of the contest seen five years ago between the SDL and the Fiji Labour Party."