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Fiji: Women Activists Cited For Possible Breaches

Women Activists Cited For Possible Breaches Of Fiji's Electoral Laws

SUVA: (IFEX/Pacific Media Watch): Women activists are among those cited by Fiji's election office for possible breaches of the country's electoral laws that ban electioneering once polling has begun.

At a media briefing in the capital Suva yesterday afternoon, Supervisor of Elections Semesa Karavaki said the incident stemmed from newspaper advertisements placed in a daily newspaper over the weekend.

Pacnews believes the activists belong to women organisations which paid for one full page advertisement in the Sunday Times calling on women voters to only vote for the party that promotes their interest.

Another organisation called the Assembly of Christian Churches also paid for an advertisement in the same newspaper wanting its members to be wary of the kind of leaders they should choose.

"Yes I can confirm that police are now investigating these two cases," Karavaki told journalists.

"Some people think they can try their luck and hope to get away with it. "We certainly don't condone such acts. "No one should be allowed to make such a cheap shot."

Karavaki said a mobile text message that allegedly originate from Australia is also being investigated. The telephone message called on mobile owners to vote for a particular political party that would reform Fiji's telecommunication industry.

Voting meanwhile on Fiji's second day of polling went "relatively smooth" yesterday, the elections office chief reported. None of the 213 polling centres that were opened yesterday reported a shortage of ballot papers or another other related incident.

Karavaki said all opened on time and would close as scheduled.

"I don't have the figures for voter turnout today (yesterday) as this will be available later. "But I can confirm that voter turnout last Saturday was 10 percent of all those registered."

Karavaki said a ten percent turnout during the first day compared very well with the figures of the previous elections of 2001. The third day of voting resumes today in Fiji.



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