29 Aug 2014

Anger at new pre-polling dates in Fiji

9:17 am on 29 August 2014

A candidate in Fiji's elections is outraged at the decision by the Electoral Commission and Supervisor of Elections to begin pre-polling on September the 3rd, two weeks before the official election date.

Fiji SODELPA party candidate, Mick Beddoes, has labelled the Electoral Commission and Supervisor of Elections as incompetent following the announcement.

In a statement, Mr Beddoes says when the 17th of September one-day election date was announced, political parties said it would be impossible to do, but he says the regime continually insisted that it could be done and would be done.

Now he says it has announced pre-polling dates from the 3rd until the 12th of September, which effectively turns a one-day election into a 10-day election.

He says the announcement places an increased burden on parties to bring forward their plans for polling by two weeks, sacrificing valuable final day campaigning.

Mr Beddoes adds that campaigning is supposed to stop 48 hours before voting, so all parties have scheduled meetings and other activities right up till 15th September, based on a promised September 17th one day election.

He wonders whether this means campaigning will now have to stop this Monday.

Mr Beddoes says he hopes the International Observers are taking note of these developments.