Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission
Nationwide Voter Registration Drive and the Know Your Election Campaign Launch
The Grand Pacific Hotel
25 February 2022
Your Excellency, The President of the Republic of Fiji,
Hon Speaker of Parliament,
Fellow Electoral Commission members,
Members of the Diplomatic Corp,
Acting Prime Minister,
Distinguished Invited Guest,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.
This morning, it is my honor and privilege to take this stage in my first act as Chairperson of the Electoral Commission. I am indeed humbled to receive such appointment and I wish to thank the Constitutional Offices Commission and His Excellency for your trust and faith in me to undertake this role.
Your Excellency, I also take this opportunity to welcome you to this event. On behalf of the Electoral Commission, the Supervisor of Elections and the Fijian Elections Office, I convey our heartiest thanks to you for accepting the invite to launch this important event of great national interest.
The Electoral Commission, under section 75 of the Constitution, is responsible for the conduct of free and fair elections in accordance with written law governing elections in Fiji. The Electoral Commission will follow the law as it is – and that is our prescribed role in the Constitution. Under section 75(2)(b) of the Constitution, the Electoral Commission is also responsible for voter education.
Today’s event will mark the commencement of the nationwide voter awareness campaign called ‘Know Your Election’ and the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive for the 2022 General Election. These essential election preparation programs will run concurrently from today until the 2nd of April 2022.
As we are all aware, the electoral system in Fiji does not provide for a fixed date for the conduct of the General Election. Instead, the election can be called any time from the 9th of July 2022 till the 9th of January 2023. While we do not know the date of election yet, we want to be prepared and we want the voters to be able to access basic information on the General Election.
Voter education is a major contribution to electoral integrity and voter confidence. The ‘Know Your Election’ campaign will disseminate consistent, balanced, non-partisan and objective information on what voters need to know in order to exercise their right to vote.
The Fijian Elections Office has produced the Election Information Booklet which provides information on voters’ rights and obligations in the electoral process and explains the importance of the process of voting. It also has essential information for voters in terms of campaign and source of credible information on election.
Voters need to be educated about the electoral process to help them become an informed voter and every Fijian Voter should have at least perused through one Election Information Booklet before they reach the polling station.Personally, I am looking forward to overseeing the conduct of this national exercise. I have been briefed about the extensive plans by the Fijian Elections Office and I wish all of the staff the very best in their tasks. I have just joined the Electoral Commission and I certainly look forward to my overall roles and responsibilities. I look forward to working with my fellow Commission members, the Supervisor of Elections, the Fijian Elections Office and other stakeholders in delivering the 2022 General Election. Together, we will work hard to ensure that every Fijian is able to cast his/her vote with confidence, security and freedom.
Thank you, Vinaka Vakalevu and Dhanyabadh.