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Court ruling on election impasse on notice

August 24, 2014 2:40 am

The Suva High Court will this afternoon rule on notice on an application by the Electoral Commission to have the draws of candidate numbers declared void and of no effect.

In a special court sitting last night, Commission Chair, Chen Bunn Young argued that the High Court has jurisdiction to hear the case in the public interest and because the Supervisor of Elections cannot make his own interpretations of the Electoral Decree.

He argued Section 76 subsection 3 of the Constitution is very specific in that the Supervisor must take directives from the Commission and leaves no room for doubt or second guessing.

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Solicitor General Sharvada Sharma argued that Section 173 subsection 4 of the 2013 Constitution is clear in that the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the Commission’s argument.

The Electoral Commission has filed proceedings, seeking a declaration that the Supervisor of Elections erred in law.

The Electoral Commission wants the draw of candidate numbers declared void and of no effect.

The Commission wants a declaration from the High Court that the Supervisor Mohammed Saneem erred in law and fact when he said the Commission had to deliver its decisions by 4pm last Friday.

It also wants the court to rule that Saneem is bound to follow the directive of the Electoral Commission to include the name of Steven Singh of the Fiji Labour Party in the candidates list and remove Parveen Kumar of FijiFirst.

The Commission also wants the court to order another draw of numbers for all candidates – based on the names approved by the Commission.

However, both the parties said in court they are willing to do a swap of numbers for two candidates since there are only two contentious nominations.

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