Electoral Commission and Fijian Elections Office Fulfil Legal Obligation with Submission of 2022 General Election Joint Report

Electoral Commission and Fijian Elections Office Fulfil Legal Obligation with Submission of 2022 General Election Joint Report

The Electoral Commission [‘EC’] and the Fijian Elections Office [‘FEO’] successfully submitted the much-anticipated 2022 General Election Joint Report [‘Joint Report’] to the Office of the President and the Honourable Speaker’s Chambers on Monday, November 20, 2023.

This marks the completion of a crucial duty following the EC’s earlier challenge in meeting the submission deadline outlined in Section 14(g) of the Electoral Act 2014 due to the lack of quorum earlier in the year.

In expressing her contentment, EC Chairperson Ms. Barbara Malimali commended the diligence of the newly constituted EC in swiftly addressing the requirements, to compile and submit the Joint Report.

“The Commission is pleased to have complied with its legal obligations in respect of this report and to have collaborated with the FEO to provide His Excellency the President and the Honourable Speaker with a detailed overview of the 2022 electoral process and outcome,” said Ms. Malimali.

The Chairperson added that the Commission had responded to each of the recommendations of the Multinational Observer Group, and proposed several additional recommendations, some of which anticipated the forthcoming legislative review of electoral laws.

“In particular, the Commission has called on the Government to consider the implementation of temporary special measures to enhance gender diversity and women’s representation in Parliament, and to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the same rights and opportunities to vote and stand for election as others. These recommendations are in line with Fiji’s obligations under international law,” stated Ms. Malimali

The Acting Supervisor of Elections Ms. Ana Mataiciwa also acknowledged the accomplishment of submitting the long-awaited Joint Report.

“I am pleased to confirm that the report has been submitted to His Excellency the President and the Honourable Speaker in accordance with the law. Despite delays, the circumstances necessitated flexibility, and I extend my gratitude to the Electoral Commission for their commitment to submitting the report,” Ms. Mataiciwa stated.

The Joint Report comprehensively outlines the processes involved in the 2022 General Election. It details the legal responsibilities of both the EC and the FEO as well as their collective recommendations.

Electoral Commission Strengthens Dialogue with Political Parties through Informal ‘Talanoa’ Session

Electoral Commission Strengthens Dialogue with Political Parties through

Informal ‘Talanoa’ Session

The Electoral Commission [‘EC’] held a constructive ‘talanoa’ on Friday, 10 November 2023, fostering open dialogue with representatives of political parties over afternoon tea. This initiative aligns with the EC’s ongoing commitment to rebuilding trust of the people in the EC.

Ms. Barbara Malimali, Chairperson of the EC, expressed satisfaction with the talanoa, highlighting the valuable exchange of experiences and ideas that transpired among the EC and the attending political party representatives. The session went beyond the contemporary political landscape, delving into historical perspectives dating back to 1970.

“I am very pleased with today’s talanoa session. Despite the presence of only two parties, we had a wonderful exchange of ideas and experiences. I believe we should conduct more awareness sessions with political parties that go beyond the General Secretary level,” said
Ms. Malimali.

Representatives from the All Peoples Party and the People’s Alliance, namely Mr. Laiakini Waqanisau and Mr. Usaia Waqatairewa, respectively, expressed gratitude to the EC for organizing the session. Both representatives appreciated the relaxed atmosphere of the

“I am glad we had this session in a very relaxed atmosphere, and I thank the EC for inviting our party to attend,” said Mr. Waqatairewa.

“I thank the EC for organizing this session. We are happy to attend this session and meet the commission members as we only see them in the media,” added Mr. Waqanisau.

The EC members, in turn, were delighted with the talanoa as it provided insights into the workings of political parties, allowing them to address concerns and identify opportunities for future engagements.

Commissioner Nemani Mati remarked, “I found today’s session to be useful, listening to the political parties and the issues they raised, which, in their views, weren’t fair. It was good to listen to them, and I hope that moving forward we can hold more sessions like this.”

Commissioner Dr. Atu Emberson Bain emphasized the cordial and informal nature of the talanoa, describing it as informative. “It was great to meet with representatives of political parties and ask them what kinds of issues might have arisen for them regarding the conduct of the last election and how we can assist and serve them better. Several concerns were raised and we forward to looking into these.”

Following the talanoa, the EC convened its seventh meeting of the newly constituted EC, demonstrating its commitment to fostering ongoing dialogue and collaboration.

From L-R: Mr. Uraia Waqatairewa and EC Chairperson Ms. Barbara Malimali


From L-R: Mr. Laiakini Waqanisau and Commissioner Atu Emberson Bain

Launching of the Fijian Elections Office 2024-2027 Strategic Plan and the Elections Disability Access Working Group or EDAWG’s 4- Year Workplan

Launching of the

Fijian Elections Office 2024-2027 Strategic Plan

and the

Elections Disability Access Working Group or EDAWG’s 4-

Year Workplan

EC Chairperson: Ms. Barbara Malimali
Friday 03 November 2023
Holiday Inn

Your Excellencies,
the Acting Supervisor of Elections,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies, and Gentlemen,

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

I am deeply honoured to join you today as the Chief Guest at the launching of the Fijian Elections Office [“FEO”] 2024-2027 Strategic Plan and the Elections Disability Access Working Group or EDAWG’s 4- Year Workplan. Today marks a pivotal juncture in our nation’s electoral history, as it signifies our commitment to rebuilding trust, ensuring inclusivity, and engaging all Fijian citizens in our electoral processes.

First and foremost, I must commend the Fijian Elections Office for its proactive stance in addressing the challenges and concerns that have emerged in recent years through the launch and endeavor to implement this plan. Our democracy stands as the cornerstone of our society, and the Electoral Commission as well as the Fijian Elections Office play a central role in ensuring that the voice of every Fijian is not only heard but also respected. As the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, I stand before you today to pledge my unwavering support for the vision and mission outlined in this Strategic Plan.

Rebuilding trust and confidence is no small feat, yet it is a necessary one. The Electoral Commission shares this perspective and applauds the FEO for acknowledging the importance of regaining the trust of the Fijian people. This strategic plan lays out a comprehensive roadmap to achieve just that. By enhancing transparency, accountability, and accessibility, the FEO is taking critical steps to ensure that every Fijian has unwavering faith in the fairness and integrity of our electoral procedures.

On the topic of inclusivity, I am delighted to inform you that the EDAWG, will be presenting its 4-Year Work Plan to the Electoral Commission. This underscores the FEO’s proactive and inclusive approach to the conduct of elections in Fiji, ensuring that all citizens, regardless of their abilities, can participate fully in the electoral process.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies, and Gentlemen, it is important to remember that the Electoral Commission and the FEO are two distinct and independent entities, each with its constitutional mandate for overseeing elections in Fiji. The Electoral Commission is responsible for formulating policies and procedures that guarantee the conduct of free and fair elections, while the FEO oversees the overall execution of elections in Fiji. This Strategic Plan reassures us, the Electoral Commission, of the FEO’s commitment to chart a new course, fostering greater inclusiveness in Fiji’s electoral processes.

Furthermore, let me emphasize that the Electoral Commission has the mandate to scrutinize and oversee the operations of the FEO. We are committed to holding the FEO accountable for meeting the objectives and goals set forth in their new strategic plan.

In conclusion, I wholeheartedly support the 2024-2027 Strategic Plan of the Fijian Elections Office. This is a forward-thinking, comprehensive, and ambitious Plan that steers our democracy onto a new trajectory. Together, we can rebuild trust and confidence, eliminate administrative barriers, and create a more inclusive and engaging electoral process. The success of this plan will serve as a testament to the resilience and robustness of our democracy.

I extend my deepest gratitude to all who have tirelessly worked to shape this plan and to all those present today who share the vision of a stronger, more inclusive Fiji. Let us unite in this eendeavour to transform this vision to reality and ensure that our electoral processes become a source of pride for every Fijian. Thank you, and may our democratic journey be marked by unity, progress, and continued success.

Thank you and Vinaka vakalevu.


EC and FEO are two separate independent bodies – EC Chairperson

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.


EC and FEO officials participate in program for NZ general election

EC and FEO officials participate in program for NZ general election.

Officials from the Fijian Elections Office [‘FEO’] and the Electoral Commission [‘EC’] are currently participating in the Election Visitor Program [‘EVP’] for the New Zealand General Election.

The EC Chairperson Barbara Malimali stated that she was impressed with the electoral processes the New Zealand Electoral Commission (NZEC) had on display.

“It was good to see the different processes and initiatives that the NZEC incorporate in their Electoral process such as Easy Vote Cards, Special Votes for Voters outside their electorate, Advanced Voting Places in Malls, and shopping business districts,” said Ms. Malimali.

The FEO Director Corporate Services Sanjeshwar Ram also found the presentations by the NZEC very informative.

“There are certainly things we can study and learn from the NZEC to better our voter services in Fiji, the Data Analytics system the NZEC uses to monitor overall operations in particular is very interesting,” Mr. Ram stated.

The EVP which is organized by the NZEC commenced from Thursday 12, 2023 with 14 October being the election day in New Zealand. The EVP participants are from countries from around the Pacific Region namely Australia, Bougainville, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, non-state participants are representatives from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The EVP was attended by the following officials;

1. Ms. Barbara Malimali – EC Chairperson;
2. Mr. Inoke Loganimoce – EC Member;
3. Sanjeshwar Ram – FEO Director Corporate Services.

The FEO International Relations Assistant, Eric Drodrolagi and Operations Coordinator Aseri Baivi were also seconded by the NZEC as EVP Advisors with the NZEC International Team.

The Visitor Program varies from an Election Observation mission, given that when participating in the program, participants will not report on their findings but rather use the opportunity to learn and exchange knowledge among Election Management Bodies. New Zealand does not have International Election Observers.





Opening Remarks on behalf of the PIANZEA Network at the BRIDGE Workshop

by Electoral Commission

Opening Remarks on behalf of the PIANZEA Network at the BRIDGE Workshop

EC Chairperson: Ms. Barbara Malimali

Tuesday 19 September 2023


Mr. Alpha Bah UN Resident Coordinator Officer in Charge;
Mr. Henry Cocker Acting Director for Governance and Engagement Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat;
Fellow Senior Representatives and Officials from the PIANZEA Network;
Representatives of Government Organisations, Pacific and UN Agencies and CSO’s;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Ni sa Bula Vinaka, Pacific Greetings and a very good morning to each and every one of you.

I am delighted and honoured to speak to you all this morning as the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission Republic of Fiji and on behalf of the PIANZEA Network, to express our heartfelt appreciation for your presence here in Suva over the next few days. Whether you’ve travelled a short distance or crossed the vast Pacific Ocean to be here, your commitment is deeply cherished. I kindly ask that we acknowledge one another’s dedication with a hearty round of applause (pause for applause).

As we assemble here today, we find ourselves in a remarkable position—an opportunity to share experiences, knowledge, and expertise, all with the aim of fortifying the electoral processes that form the bedrock of our respective democracies. This workshop is a testament to the collaborative spirit and partnerships that define the Pacific region. I am confident that the insights and discussions that will unfold in the days ahead will be invaluable in our collective endeavour to enhance electoral integrity and inclusivity.

Our region, marked by its rich tapestry of cultures, languages, and geographic complexities, presents us with unique electoral dynamics. However, it is precisely within our diversity that we discover our greatest strengths and resilience. The commitment demonstrated by each electoral management body and our respected stakeholders present here, in ensuring elections that are free, fair, and transparent, mirrors our shared dedication to democratic ideals. It is a commitment that transcends borders and unites us in a common purpose.

In conclusion, I extend my sincere gratitude to all participants, our facilitators, and the inter-agency organizers and secretariat for making this workshop a reality. Let us seize this opportunity to reinforce our bonds of cooperation and chart a course that leads to even more robust and resilient electoral systems.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your unwavering dedication to democracy is deeply appreciated, and I eagerly anticipate the productive discussions and collaborations that await us. Together, we possess the potential to leave a lasting imprint on the democratic landscape of the Pacific region.

Thank you and Vinaka vaka levu.

Electoral Commission here to serve the people of Fiji – EC Chairperson

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.


Standing (L- R) – Commissioner Dr Atu Emberson-Bain, Commissioner Nalini Singh and Commissioner Ateca Ledua.
Sitting (L – R) Commissioner Inoke Dokonivalu, Commissioner Reginald Jokhan, EC Chairperson Barbara Malimali and Commissioner Nemani Mati.

Closing Remarks on EC Induction

Statement by the Chairperson Ms Barbara Malimali of the Electoral Commission
Closing of the EC Induction Workshop
16 August 2023

I rise to thank all Commissioners present here today for availing yourselves of our 3-day workshop. I understand that you all have busy schedules, however, each one of us has been appointed to this high office as a result of our various expertise and experiences, with the confidence that we each will carry out our duties with impartiality and integrity. With that being said, I thank you Commissioners once again for your contributions and questions over the course of our Introductory Workshop.

I also wish to acknowledge our donor partners who have contributed towards this Introductory workshop. Our thanks to MFAT for their continued partnership with the Electoral Commission. And to our sister body, the NZEC who are represented here through our facilitators Deidre Brookes and Karen Beggs, we’d like to acknowledge you for your hard work which can be seen in how you carried this workshop efficiently and effectively, so thank you.

Over the 3 days, we have been able to familiarise ourselves with the various processes of the Electoral Commission and we’ve come to the realisation that there is a huge task ahead of us in terms of legislative reform and review.

Fellow Commissioners, ladies and gentlemen let me finish by saying that you have all worked hard, but in fact, the real work only starts now. This is the beginning of our concerted efforts to work together with our partners to support the capacity needs of this Commission, which will ultimately serve the needs of our people.

Thank You.
Vinaka Vakalevu


EC Members meet with Minister for Local Government & Housing

Members of the Electoral Commission (EC) today met with the Minister for Local Government and Housing, Honourable Maciu Nalumisa.

The meeting which was also a short courtesy call, provided the opportunity for the EC Members to discuss the progress of the Municipal Council election preparation with the Honourable Minister.

“Given that the EC will also have a part to play in the upcoming Municipal Council election, today’s meeting with the Honourable Minister enabled us to discuss how the EC will assist in ensuring that the election is conducted accordingly,” said Ms. Malimali.

Ms. Malimali added that the EC will be working closely with the Ministry towards the build-up of the 2024 Municipal Council election and those that follow.

“The EC will be conducting more consultation with the Ministry with regards to the plans and timeline prepared for other upcoming Municipal Council elections,” Ms. Malimali stated.


EC committed to working collectively to best serve interests of all Fijians – EC Chairperson

An Induction Workshop for members of the Electoral Commission (EC) started today.

In opening the Workshop, EC Chairperson Barbara Malimali welcomed the members and stated that the Commission now had the full complement of Commissioners, with the appointment of Dr. Atu Emberson-Bain.

In addition, Ms. Malimali also emphasised the important role the EC had ahead of them.

“As EC members, it is crucial that we align ourselves to our roles stipulated under Section 75 of the Constitution. Hence, I am confident that over the course of this Workshop, we will be able to do just that,” said Ms. Malimali.

The EC Chairperson added that as appointees of the President of the Republic of Fiji, it was also important to know what their duties were and ensuring that they are executed accordingly.

“Knowing our duties as appointees of the President and seeing that they are implemented accordingly is also important. Therefore, as members of the EC, we are committed to working collectively to best serve the interests of all Fijians,” Ms. Malimali stated.

Ms. Malimali also thanked the New Zealand Electoral Commission (NZEC) for facilitating the Workshop.

“We are truly thankful to the NZEC for facilitating this induction workshop and we look forward to more collaboration in the near future,” said Ms. Malimali.

The Induction Workshop is expected to conclude on Wednesday 16 th August, 2023.