2 Jun 2014

Fiji First Party approval outlined

3:32 pm on 2 June 2014

Fiji election authorities say an objection received over the Fiji First Party's registration contravenes the law.

The Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem confirmed Fiji First's registration last week, rejecting the six complaints it received.

Among the objections were accusations the regime-led party had campaigned before being registered, it had wrongly used the Fiji flag and its name resembled that of another party, Fiji 1st.

In his written decision dismissing the objections, Mr Saneem upheld Fiji First's responses to the objections.

His statement outlined three objections made by Tupeni Baba of the Sodelpa Party including that a former office holder of the party, Bijai Prasad, had lied over not having a conviction.

Mr Saneem, described the conviction as irrelevant and he said Dr Baba was in breach of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act by raising it.

To Dr Baba's complaint about illegal campaigning, Mr Saneem said he hadn't provided particulars to substantiate the claims.

He said in any event the ground's raised by Mr Baba did not qualify under the law.

Three applicants objected to the use of the name Fiji First, saying the Fiji 1st party already existed.

But Mr Saneem said there was no evidence the party's registration had ever been approved.

Mr Saneem also said one of the objectors Amit Singh had not signed his letter.

Another applicant Nazia Khan Rauf had objected to the use of the Fiji flag by Fiji First in its logo.

But Mr Saneem said no law prohibits the use of the flag and in any case Fiji First was using a variant of the flag.

Mr Saneem said another objector, Mick Beddoes, had misconceived certain facts and not signed his letter of objections.

The registrar referred to Fiji First's response which described Mr Beddoes allegations and complaints as being without merit and made in desperation.