CHAUDHRY QUESTIONS FIJI VOTER REGISTRATION

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Oct. 3) – The Fiji Labour Party has raised its concern over irregularities in the registration of voters by the Elections Office.

Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry – who was ousted as Prime Minister in the 2000 coup - says irregularities have been reported in the registration of voters in the Indian communal constituencies.

Chaudhry says the irregularities were in clear breach of the Electoral Act of 1998, rendering the registrations invalid.

Chaudhry says he has written to the Electoral Commission to order new registrations to be done by enumerators who are competent and who operate without political bias.

"It seems that a deliberate campaign was launched to disenfranchise voters in the Indian communal constituencies by either omitting to register them altogether or by registering them incorrectly", he said. "This is another way of rigging elections. How else can your explain the huge disparity in the enumerators chosen from the Indian community?"

He said even in the constituencies with a huge Indian majority, enumerators of other ethnic communities outnumbered those appointed from the Indian community.

He said many registrations forms had blanks on the constituencies to which the voter was assigned while many were simply endorsed (TDL) or "to be decided later".

Principal Administration Officer-Registration, Kameli Koto, told Radio Fiji that there are irregularities but he says they are trying their best to do a proper and clean job.

"It is mammoth task and is a very large logistical exercise, and you have to expect some errors, but it’s good that we come up and clean the errors as and when see them."

October 5, 2005

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

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