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Political parties oppose electoral reforms

March 6, 2021 12:25 pm
National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad, Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem and SODELPA’s Deputy Party Leader, Filimoni Vosarogo.

Some of the major political parties have today opposed the amendments proposed in the Electoral Bill.

The Social Democratic Liberal Party and the National Federation Party believe the amendments to the Act will give too much power to one person which is tyranny.

SODELPA’s Deputy Party Leader, Filimoni Vosarogo, says the Supervisor of Elections should not deal with content published by political parties that may contain false information.

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“Let’s take a scenario, the SOE walks into a town area prior to election and sees a SODELPA banner that he thinks is offensive, probably better than a FijiFirst banner. He directs it to be removed, they should, if they don’t, they become liable to prosecution for not obeying a spontaneous order of the SOE.”

Vosarogo says the office of the registrar of Political Parties and the Office of the Supervisor of Elections must be distinct.

National Federation Party Leader Professor, Biman Prasad, has echoed similar sentiments.

“You can’t have the supervisor of Elections who’s in charge of conducting elections but also regulating the political parties. The two offices should be separate.”

Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, says suggestions by the political parties will take the electoral system back instead of moving forward.

He says the submissions by the parties focused on only a few areas in the Act.

“The Deputy leader of SODELPA appeared to have not read the entire amendments and was only reading pieces of the amendment which made the understanding of the law very difficult. With the National Federation Party I have noted that was a heavy objection on the improvement on the disclosure of financial information.”

Saneem says in an ideal situation political parties should support the improvement in the laws especially in terms of transparency and disclosures.

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