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“Electoral Commission and Rubber Stamps”. Letter to Editor, 4 March 2014.

04/03/2014

Letter to Editor (The Fiji Times, Fiji Sun, Island Business, Republika)
4 March 2014 (published Fiji Times, 5 March 2014)

Electoral Commission and Rubber Stamps

Dear Sir/Madam

When the Electoral Commission was appointed, many in the public would have been reassured to see the names, including some who have been associated in the past with fostering democracy and accountability, and their statement that they would not be a “rubber stamp” for the Bainimarama Government..

This faith has been shattered by the refusal of the Electoral Commission Chairman to release to the public and political parties, the details of the proposed electoral regulations, or the electronic copy of the voter rolls, both of which are in the possession of the Bainimarama Government.

The Commission has admitted that they will merely comment on the draft, and the final version will be decided by the Bainimarama Government: i.e. the Commission will merely rubber stamp the eventual product, without any democratic input.

What a far cry this is from the 2012 boasts by the Bainimarama Regime that the Ghai Draft Report (and its electoral system) would be debated and approved by a “People’s Constituent Assembly”.

I call on the individual members of the Electoral Commission to inform the public through these columns, whether

(a) they accept the limitations placed on them by the Bainimarama Government

(b) if any of them have individually registered their protest at Commission’s refusal to make public the draft electoral regulations.

Yours faithfully

Professor Wadan Narsey

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