18 Oct 2022

Fiji elections: Nearly 690,000 people register to vote

9:57 am on 18 October 2022
Shailendra Singh

Dr Shailendra Singh Photo: USP

A Pacific media expert says Fiji is still not a fully-fledged democracy and is recovering from the impacts of the 2006 coup - the country's fourth since gaining independence 52 years ago.

The University of the South Pacific's head of journalism associate professor Dr Shailendra Singh said Fiji's transition from authoritarianism to greater democracy is an ongoing process.

Singh said that is why it is important that everyone accepts the outcomes of the 2022 general elections, which must be held before January 9 next year.

"The reason is simply that any stalemate or instability could be very damaging. Any instability will undo all those painstaking achievements we've made since 2006.

There are also wider implications, given that Fiji is a major country in our region. So, any instability in Fiji is not good for the region as a whole," he said.

Nearly 690,000 Fijians have registered to cast their vote across 1468 polling stations when the much-anticipated general elections are held.

While a date for the polls is yet to be announced, nine political parties are officially vying for the 55 parliamentary seats.

Singh said the 2022 election will be the third under the latest constitution, which is the fourth since independence in 1970.

It was imposed in 2013 by the Bainimarama regime after the president abrogated the 1997 constitution and sacked all judges.

He said this is indicative of the kinds of political problems faced by the country.

"So, this election is really, really crucial. I mean all elections are important. This one is arguably more so than perhaps any other recent elections.

Now, the thing is regardless of who wins the election, what is really most important for Fiji is a smooth transition. This is really crucial for the sake of continuity and stability," Singh said.