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Fiji To Have Free, Fair Election - MSG Group Told

Fiji Will Have Free And Fair Election - Minister Assures MSG

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Co-operation and Civil Aviation Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has assured his counterparts in the Melanesian Spearhead Group that Fiji will have a fair, free and transparent election in March 2009.

While giving an update on the political developments in Fiji, Ratu Epeli said Fiji is committed to hold elections and in doing so have made significant progresses to prompt the election process.

“I wish to thank the Chair for this opportunity to provide our fellow MSG Members with an update on the security and political situation in Fiji.”

“Fiji is committed to hold a free, fair and transparent democratic election in March 2009,” said Ratu Epeli.

He said in this regard, the following progress should be noted:

- National census completed ahead of schedule in 2007,

- Bureau of Statistics is working towards the mandate of providing the Constitutional Boundaries Commission with provisional populations of eligible voters by enumeration area.

- Electoral Commission and Electoral Boundaries Commission have, since the appointment of Commissioners, commenced operations.

- Commissions allowed complete independence in the pursuit of their mandated tasks.

- The same approach will apply to the Supervisor of Elections and the responsibilities allotted to that office by the Constitution.

- The Deputy Supervisor of Elections has been appointed and the Elections Office has now been assigned adequate staff to ensure the smooth and effective running of daily operations.

- Two very important requirements that have been and continue to be pursued vigorously and which are close to being fully realized are:

a. Appointment of the Supervisor of Elections
b. Identification and securing of the required technical and financial resources

Continuing dialogue between the EU Troika of resident representatives, comprising the EU Delegate to the Pacific and their counterparts in the Interim Government.

He said the Chairman of the Electoral Commission and the Deputy Supervisor of Elections are now meeting with the Joint Working Group (JWG) on a continuous basis to provide a brief on the progress of parliamentary election preparatory work.

ENDS

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