The Electoral Commission [‘EC’] received a total of 10 appeals and two (2) objections to nominations approved by the Supervisor of Elections [‘SoE’] for the 2022 General Election.
The EC notes that for the purposes of an objection to a nomination, a person is required to comply with Section 30 of the Electoral Act 2014 which states:
30(1) A person who is a registered voter may object to the nomination of any candidate on the ground that the nomination of the candidate as an independent candidate or as a party candidate on a party list does not comply with the requirements of the Constitution or this Act.
The EC notes that according to the requirements of Section 30 in evaluating any objection to a nomination, the EC will re-evaluate the findings of the SoE in particular to ensure that the requirements set by Section 23 of the Electoral Act 2014 are met.
The EC received two (2) objections from a voter against 2 candidates. In evaluating the objection, the EC found that the voter did not submit any grounds as required under section 30 and his objections were prima facie based on matters that do not fall within the ambit of section 23 of the Act. The EC proceeded to dismiss the objections.
In terms of the appeals, the EC received 10 appeals from nominees who had been rejected by the SoE as well as some from persons who had been withdrawn by parties and also a case of 4 persons who were not even nominated.
There were two (2) candidates from Social Democratic Liberal Party who appealed, however their nominations had been duly withdrawn by SODELPA and they had already been replaced by their party. The EC proceeded to dismiss both these appeals on the same grounds. One candidate, name Seremaia Tui had appealed the rejection of his nomination which was also dismissed by the EC as it
was found that he had a previous criminal conviction. The EC found that Seremaia Tui’s nomination did not meet the requirements of section 23(4)(g).
There were four (4) candidates from Unity Fiji who had appealed but their nominations were withdrawn by the Party and not filed at all. Hence, it did not meet the legal basis of an appeal. There was one (1) candidate from Unity Fiji whose nomination had been processed based on police records and he had been found to have a previous criminal conviction. However, the candidate furnished the EC with his court judgment in which it was found that there was no conviction to be entered. The EC upheld his appeal and has thereafter directed the SoE the add him to the final list of candidates. There was also another candidate, Mr. Ifereimi Buaserau who appealed the decision to the EC but was dismissed given that there was sufficient evidence to prove that he had a previous conviction.
Amjad Ali from People’s Alliance filed an appeal but this was dismissed as the party had already replaced him in its list of candidates.
For the 2022 General Election, the EC had revised the procedure for dealing with appeals and objections to ensure that the appeals and objections are dealt with thoroughly and swiftly and in this regard the EC received very quick responses from the SoE in particular for all the appeals and was able to make decisions effectively.
In terms of the objections, the EC found no legal basis in the objections and proceeded to dismiss them and at the end of the entire process the EC finds that Mohammed Riyaz Khan needs to be added to the list of approved candidates and all the other appeals and objections have been dismissed by the EC.
Following this exercise, the EC has also approved for the SoE to conduct the Ball Draw for the National Candidates’ List at 10am tomorrow.