EC and FEO are two separate independent bodies – EC Chairperson.

The Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson Barbara Malimali stated that the EC and the Fijian Elections Office are two separate independent bodies.

Ms. Malimali reiterated that to date, most people still don’t understand that the EC and the FEO play different roles.

“Most people don’t realize that the Electoral Commission and Fijian Elections Office are two independent bodies, and people need to understand that. For us, letting people know that we’re two independent bodies and the fact that they need to trust us and trust the
system is pivotal. So really, it’s about rebuilding the trust of the Fijian people in the EC,” Ms. Malimali stated.

The EC Chairperson added that while the FEO oversees the technical side of things, the EC on the other hand ensures that the integrity of the election processes in Fiji are maintained.

“I’m realizing now that a lot of people don’t realize what we, as the Commission do, what the Fijian Elections Office does. So, by this time, next year, I want more people in this country understand what we do, and that we all don’t just sit around and come to life just before the elections. They must also realise that before elections that there is an election cycle, and we’re all working consistently and continuously to give the people of Fiji the best system that we can afford, and with the resources that we have,” said Ms. Malimali.

Ms. Malimali also stated that the members of the EC have been meeting to formulate and finalise work plans and other action items.

“For the last couple of months, we’ve just been trying to understand our role and where we fit in. We’ve got a work plan and we’ve already worked on some of those things. We’ve got targets, action items that need to be worked on and that’s what we’re doing when we’re going to finalize our plan. We’ve started on it and we’re going to finalize it. Yes, parts of it include making recommendations on amendments to electoral laws. That’s basically what we’re hoping to achieve by the end of this year,” Ms. Malimali elaborated.

The EC Chairperson also stated that by next year, the EC hope that more people will know and understand the importance of voting and the importance of working together as a society in promoting democracy.

“I’m hoping that the people of Fiji realize that we are midway into our election cycle, and that they understand the importance of having elections, the importance of voting and the importance for them to exercise their right to vote. With that right, comes also the responsibility of voting. That’s what I’m hoping, and that people understand the election cycle.”

“Working with our stakeholders is also important. We work with the relevant government ministries, like Ministry for Local Government, the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Women, to get us to where we need to go. And of course, our Civil Society Organisations. We need to work with our Civil Society Organisations, religious bodies and so forth. We need our people to know and understand that we do more than just come out every four years,” stated Ms. Malimali.