MOG releases elections report
April 13, 2015 5:40 am
The Multinational Observer Group (MOG) has today released its final report on the 2014 national elections.
Not deviating from its initial findings, the MOG found that the Fiji Elections Office (FEO) and election workers were ‘competent, professional and committed’ in performing their duties, even under most challenging circumstances.
The Australian-led MOG, made up of 92 observers from 13 countries gave its stamp approval to the electoral process in Fiji.
The team says while the MOG notes areas for improvement of Fiji’s electoral process, it deems this a credible election. The MOG believes the election broadly represented the will of the Fijian voters.”
The report says MOG congratulates the people of Fiji on taking this important step in their return to democracy.
It says despite compressed timeframes, a complex voting system and some restrictions in the electoral environment, the conditions were in place for Fijians to exercise their right to vote freely, concluded the MOG.
It adds there was strong interest in contesting the election, with 248 candidates from seven political parties and two independent candidates.
“In general, political parties were able to mobilise and candidates were free to campaign. The campaign period was peaceful.
The MOG observed that civil society participation in the electoral process was unduly restricted because of prohibitions contained in Section 115 of the Electoral Decree 2014.
However, the media it found ‘made good efforts to cover the election.
The report says political parties were, to varying degrees, able to communicate their messages to the public.
However, the restrictive media framework, including potentially harsh maximum penalties, limited the media’s ability to rigorously examine the claims of candidates and parties.
On the role of the Police, MOG says they played an important role in the elections, building confidence and assisting in a neutral manner when needed.