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AG disappointed with lawyers in Nawaikula case

August 27, 2021 3:59 pm

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says he has scrutinized the lack of arguments by both counsels in the recent legal challenge by MP Niko Nawaikula.

The SODELPA MP had challenged the validity of his seat being declared vacant in parliament, with the Court of Disputed Returns ruling that he must be re-instated as an MP, and be re-registered in the National Register of Voters.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the lawyers in the matter – both for Nawaikula and the Fijian Elections Office did not do a good job.

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He says he is concerned that the legal representatives did not highlight the implications of not having the correct name registered and the further implications in the event there are constitutional breaches.

“The counsel on this case from both sides did not argue the constitutional case, they did not look at the purpose behind the registration of one name and the impact it will have on the entire process and indeed on the incredibility of the electoral process.”

He adds the use of multiple names as a voter, and recognizing aliases under old common law for elections purposes, can bring into question the validity of any election.

Sayed-Khaiyum adds Nawaikula is using three names, one where he registered as Niko Nawaikula in the National Register of Voters, another he is using for his Parliamentary allowance, and there is also a third one.

The Attorney General adds the court has made its ruling, however, the government is now considering amendments to the existing law to ensure that people register to vote using the name on their birth certificate.

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