Announcement on the Official Campaign Period

by Sahil Sharma

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Announcement on the Official Campaign Period

FEO Conference Room

Date: 25/04/22

Time: 3pm

 

Members of the Electoral Commission;

Supervisor of Elections;

Representatives from the media; and

Staff of the Fijian Elections Office;

Bula Vinaka and a Good Afternoon to everyone present here today.

As per Section 109 A (1) of the Electoral Act, 2014 the Electoral Commission must determine the campaign period for a general election.

Ladies and gentleman, I would like to announce that the official campaign period for the 2022 General Election will start from tomorrow 26th April 2022 and end 48 hours before Election Day.

As you are aware, the electoral system in Fiji does not provide for a fixed date for the conduct of the General Election. While we do not know the date of election yet, the campaign period will start a month before the earliest date that the election writ can be issued by the President which is 26 May 2022.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the official campaign period signifies that the campaign rules under the Electoral Act 2014 will now come into effect.

Following this announcement today, I will also be launching the Candidates Handbook which explains in detail the various campaign rules that will apply and I urge political parties to go through the Handbook and the Electoral Act and familiarize themselves with these rules.

As we head into the official campaign period, voters can look forward to the manifestoes being put forth by political parties which will give them an opportunity to assess and determine who they would like to vote for come Election Day. It is of utmost importance that political parties do not mislead voters or engage in unlawful activities such as vote buying and bribery in order to manipulate or win support.

The Fijian Elections Office will continue to monitor the campaign activities during this period and anyone found in breach will be dealt with in accordance to the law.

I take this opportunity to urge all political parties and affiliates to campaign in a manner that is fair, transparent and as per the electoral laws of the country.

Ladies and gentlemen as of midnight tonight, the official campaign period for the 2022 General Election will commence.

 

Vinaka.

Political Party Electoral Processes Workshop 

by Sahil Sharma

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Political Party Electoral Processes Workshop 

Suvavou House

Date: 21/04/22

Time: 8:00am

The Supervisor of Elections; 

Representatives of Political Parties; 

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Electoral Commission[EC] is required by law to conduct regular meetings with political parties and since the beginning of this year we have been holding various meetings and sessions with political parties to upskill and build their capacity.

Today’s workshop is one of the most critical amongst all of our meetings and I understand from the presentations today, the Supervisor of Elections[SoE] will be providing political parties with first hand direct information on the actual processes involved in the various steps along the way.

Ladies and Gentlemen, at this juncture, political parties must realize that operational plans of the Fijian Elections Office[FEO] are tentative in nature and of course be affected by various factors once the election date is announced.

They are to be treated for information purposes, for planning and preoperational purposes and you must always ensure that you treat it with a caution that things are subject to change.

Ladies and Gentlemen, COVID-19 has taught us a very important lesson in life and that it is that we must not take things for granted and that is why you will notice that some of these plans still incorporate COVID safe measures for the very reason that we need to be prepared incase anything surprises us.

We have noticed that political parties participate in all these forums and yet their leaders continue to make incorrect statements about the elections.

We hope that the representation of political parties in these sessions is at very senior levels so that the information that is provided by the Fijian Elections Office reaches the people that actually do a lot of your political party talking.

The choice of venue for any training for political parties is determined based on the cost, availability, the size and as well the suitability. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you very much for your attendance today. With that, I wish you all a productive and successful workshop and I officially declare the Political Party Electoral Processes Workshop open.

Vinaka

Bonanza Draw

by Sahil Sharma

Statement by Electoral Commission Chairperson Mr Mukesh Nand

Event: Bonanza Draw

Venue: FEO Ground Level Conference Room

Time: 7:00pm

Date: 20/04/22

Bula Vinaka Ladies and Gentlemen. 

It is my honour to preside over this Draw to determine the 300 winners of the $30,000 Bonanza put in place by the Fijian Elections Office [‘FEO’], for the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive. 

As we are all aware, the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive resulted in the successful engagement of over 200,000 voters with the FEO. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, prior to the Drive, the FEO had proposed a $30,000 prize money to promote as many Fijians as possible to come down and update to the latest Blue VoterCard or update their details. As such, it was decided that 300 lucky people will walk away with $100 cash. 

Based on that Ladies and Gentlemen, the FEO has set-up these four (4) computers and the Draw will be conducted by a random draw software application.

Ladies and Gentlemen because of the great number of participants in this Bonanza, the Draw will be done electronically and this software will randomly select the Electronic Voter Numbers of 300 lucky winners. 

As was said in the beginning, each voter can only participate once in the Bonanza even though they may have accessed voter services more than once. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, those who had participated in the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive beginning on 25th  February 2022 right up until 14th April 2022, are eligible to participate and without any further ado, I will now proceed to each of these computers and generate the list of winners from the entire list of people that had participated in the Nationwide Voter Registration Drive.

Thank You. 

Vinaka Vaka Levu.     

Launch of the Presiding Officers Training

by Sahil Sharma

Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission 

Launch of the Presiding Officers Training 

Tanoa Waterfront Hotel  

Lautoka 

8:30am 

19 April 2022 

The Supervisor of Elections, 

FEO Directors, 

Presiding and Assistant Officers trainees and, 

Invited Guests. 

Ladies and Gentlemen. 

Bula Vinaka and a warm welcome to the Presiding Officers Training Launch for the 2022  General Election. 

Congratulations on your shortlisting to be the Polling station managers on Election Day or  during Pre-poll. On the date of polling, you all will be the senior most Election Officials on the 

ground and in-charge of the polling place. This is a huge responsibility and we all believe that  each of you have proven on merit that you are capable of the task. 

This training is for both potential Presiding and Assistant Presiding Officers. These trainings  will be a full day training which will start from 19 April 2022 and end on 26 May 2022 and  we expect to train 7,145 participants during this Phase.  

Ladies and Gentlemen, these trainings are an essential component for preparing you to  manage polling. It will prepare you for all the tasks that you have to undertake and also to  administer. Do not underestimate the importance of any task. All of them are important. I  repeat – all of them are important. 

You will all play a vital role come Election Day. You will not only represent yourself during  the national exercise but also act as ambassadors for the Fijian Elections Office[FEO]. 

The Presiding Officers Manual will be your guide and it will have all the answers you may  have. Also, each one of you will undertake specific tasks at your respective Polling Venues  and Polling Stations on Election Day. 

The team at FEO has transferred all the necessary legal requirements into the manuals for you. Use those manuals. Follow all instructions in the manual. There will be polling agents  and observers that will be trained to check that you follow all the procedures come Election  Day. 

So it is of high importance that every one of you pay attention during the trainings. You can  ask questions if you are not sure or confused with the respective trainers and most  importantly practice what you are going to learn during the training. 

You have been selected for a reason and that is to be a focal point of communication between  the FEO and the voters that will turn up to cast their votes at Polling Venues around the  country on Election Day.  

We at the Electoral Commission [EC] together with team from the FEO expect the best from  you. We need you to be fair, honest, impartial, hardworking and demonstrate confidently in  your line of work and we have full confidence that you will be able to demonstrate these. 

We encourage you not to be easily influenced by outside sources such as social media, fake  news, misinformation and disinformation which you will often come across now until the  election. 

On the topic of fake news and misinformation, in the recently launched Pre-Election Voter  Survey by the FEO, of the 9,292 responses, 62 % had noticed fake news on social media  websites while 38% did not.  

As expected, majority of persons have suggested that they had come across fake news,  misinformation on Facebook with Facebook being the most widely used social network in  Fiji. It is imperative that every employee of the FEO demonstrate a greater level of  responsible online behavior. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, you may ask why the EC and the FEO provide adequate trainings and  emphasize the importance of such trainings. One may just have to look at the Multinational  Observer Group Report on the 2006 General Election, where it had been noted that polling  place rules were applied inconsistently. In some places, the polling places were setup under  trees without any exact guidelines. In some polling places, polling staff allowed people to  enter the venue carrying their bags while polling officers in other polling venues required  voters to leave their bags outside before they entered.

We must ensure that we follow the procedures laid out by the FEO. These have been  prepared with the experience of two (2) elections and the review by various electoral experts  that support the FEO. You will also find that these procedures are also consistent with many  other countries in the world conduct elections. Be confident and execute these processes.  

Before I conclude, let me remind you that this is a very important year for the nation. We are  preparing for the Election. I and my fellow Commissioners would like to encourage that you  all need to play your part, work together as a team and apply the trainings and learnings you  will receive in your respective work.  

I wish you all the very best in the training and look forward to working with you as we deliver  the 2022 General Election. 

Vinaka Vakalevu