Electoral Commission here to serve the people of Fiji – EC Chairperson
Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson Ms. Barbara Malimali speaking at the Commissioners’ monthly meeting last week, stated that the EC is here to serve the people of Fiji.
“We need the people of Fiji to realise that they have an Electoral Commission that is independent and that is working. If they have questions, we are here to answer them. If anybody has any issues or questions, they can come and see us, they can email us, they can call us, they can even walk into our office. We are here to serve the people of Fiji,” said Ms. Malimali.
Ms. Malimali added that in order for the EC to fulfil its Constitutional mandate, the work is ongoing and continuing, even during non-election years.
“The EC is a Constitutional Commission and we have a Constitutional mandate as per Section 75 of the Constitution. In order to meet the Constitutional mandate, such as registration of citizens as voters and voter education, a lot of work has to be done beforehand. This is why the current EC is finalising a work plan.”
“The last election was held in 2022 and the next election will be held in 2026. Between 2022 and 2026, a lot of things need to be prepared. We have to understand voter movements, we have to see how we can get the percentages up, how we can get more people to come in and vote at the next elections.”
“We’ve also heard from the Government on the Municipal Council elections anticipated in the new year. The EC has a role to play in the municipal election as well. With that said, I think it’s important that members of the public understand that the work at the EC is ongoing,” Ms. Malimali stated.
The EC Chairperson added that for the EC members to operate and achieve its goals, having regular meetings was vital.
“Having regular meetings is important for the Commission to operate and for the Commission to achieve its work, it can only be done with the Commission sitting. As it is, there is a lot of work to be done. There’s the Electoral Reform, targets to be achieved, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to be prepared and looking at ways to make voting accessible to all eligible voters.
The EC Chairperson also stated that being prepared at all times was something the Commission was moving towards.
“We have targets and we have to achieve them. At every meeting, we see whether we’re doing our work, whether our colleagues from the FEO are doing their part and how we can effectively work together to achieve the same goals and be prepared. Even though all this has to be done within a very restricted budget”.
“We have a budget and given the times we’re living in, we have to work within the budget to achieve our targets. Other than that, we have to be in a state of preparedness and to be able to serve the voting population of Fiji better, which is what the EC aims to achieve,” stated Ms. Malimali.