FIJI ELECTION RESULTS APPEAR PROMISING FOR CHAUDHRY

SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 4, 2001 – ABC Australia News Online)---Early results in the Fiji elections are reported to be encouraging for deposed Labour Party Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

While only two seats have been decided so far, the Labour vote is up more than 10 percent for the Indo-Fijian communal seat in Lautoka City.

One of Mr. Chaudhry's deposed Labour Party ministers, Dr. Ganeshewa Chand, won the parliamentary seat with 72.5 percent of the vote, up from 61 percent in 1999.

In the only other seat decided so far, the Fijian communal seat of Karduvu, the former Rabuka government minister Jim Ah Koy has been beaten by a candidate from the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL).

That is the party set up by the caretaker Prime Minister who was appointed by the military, Laisenia Qarase.

In Fiji, results are released only after the entire first count in a seat, so it is too early to pick any national trend.

However, what must be of concern is that in both seats determined so far, the voter turnout is down and the invalid vote is well up.

In Mr. Ah Koy's former seat, there were only two candidates, but one in five voters spoiled their ballots.

For additional reports from ABC Australia News Online, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/ABC News Online.

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