Provost Orders USP Students To Hold Elections
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By Reggie Dutt USP Journalism Programme
SUVA: University of the South Pacific authorities have overturned a bid by the students association to not have elections this year and roll over the controversial presidency of Veresi Bainivualiku.
University Provost Filimoni Fifita told Pacific Journalism Online today that the student elections would go ahead after recent calls by some students for an "interim administration", in joking reference to the status of the non-elected government in Fiji.
"There is no provision for the deferment or postponement of the USP Student Association elections according to the student constitution," Fifita said.
"The Vice-Chancellor [Esekia Solofa], in consultation with the student council, has appointed me as the returning officer for the elections and my responsibilities are spelt out in the USPSA constitution.
"The Vice-Chancellor has advised the president of the SA that he has appointed me as the returning officer last week."
Fifita said that under Article 27 - Elections, Section (2), (4), and (9) of the USPSA constitution, he as the returning officer had the right to make decisions and he has decided to call the elections.
He said that under the USPSA constitution, the returning officer's decisions would be binding and final.
Section (1) of Article 27 - Elections of the constitution states that there should be two elections annually; the first to elect officers and chairpeople of committees and the second to elect other members of the Student Council.
"And there is no provision in the constitution which says otherwise, so it assumes that you must have the elections every year," said Fifita.
Fifita said he had issued a memorandum in regards to the elections last week but it was not displayed on the USPSA notice board as soon as it was supposed to be.
"By late Monday afternoon, nobody had seen anything, so I had to get my secretary to make photocopies and send her out to put them on the notice boards," Fifita said.
He said that because the notices were not put up earlier, he did not receive any nominations by 3pm today. He had extended the date to 3pm today.
At closing, there were three nominations for president, two for vice-president, one for treasurer and two for secretary.
The campaigns for the nominees will end tomorrow at 9pm and the elections will be held from 9am to 4pm, Friday, September 29, at the marquee, outside the USPSA offices.
Fifita said counting of the votes would start immediately after the end of voting and the results would be announced immediately afterwards.