8 Jul 2013

International panel on elections begins work in Fiji

3:50 pm on 8 July 2013

A new international committee appointed to advise the Fiji government on elections has begun work in Fiji today.

The group consists of advisors from New Zealand, the European Union and the Commonwealth.

They will carry out a GAP analysis and a needs assessment to see where international funding for the 2014 elections could be effectively spent, and help Fiji budget properly for the election.

Carl Dundas, an expert in election management and a former director of elections of Jamaica, is joined by Melissa Thorpe from the New Zealand elections office and Etienne Clay, a representative of the EU.

Fiji's attorney general and minister for elections Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum says the panel's work will strengthen the elections office.

"The problem has been that assistance to the Elections Office has been very haphazard always. We want to, the Bainimarama governrment wants to build strong institutions, and that has been a fundamental problem in Fiji, we have never had strong institutions."

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum says the panel is due to report to the government in two weeks' time.