22 Jan 2013

Fiji electoral system undermined by new decree, says academic

1:17 pm on 22 January 2013

A Fiji academic says the regime's political party decree undermines the electoral system suggested by the draft constitution.

The decree requires existing parties to register with 5,000 members from across the country by the middle of next month.

The University of Auckland's Dr Steven Ratuva says those restrictions will rule out small parties and single-issue parties.

He says the Ghai draft, which the government has dumped, proposes a proportional representation electoral system, which means people vote for a party.

"It is based on the assumption that the new political parties are going to emerge, and have a share in the number of seats. And this kind of shift away from monopoly and dominance by two or three major political parties, as in the past. But by throwing in those restrictive provisions, it actually kills from the beginning the possibility of small political parties emerging."

Dr Steven Ratuva says he believes only one or two existing parties will be able to re-register under the terms of the decree.