VOTER REGISTRATION LOW AMONG FIJI INDIANS

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 3) – The Fiji Elections Office has noted a low registration rate among Indo-Fijian voters for this year's general elections.

Principal Officer Sakenasa Varea says the Elections Office has requested district officers to send their teams out again to register them.

"It seems the number of Indians who are eligible to vote in the 2006 is not as high as it should be in the Western Division and parts of the Southern Division so that is something that we are trying to improve the low figures that we are getting," he said. "We are very very impressed with the work our enumerators are doing, through the figures we are getting, the number of people now being registered but one of the main problems is the Indian voters."

Varea says the Elections Office has an obligation to ensure all potential voters are registered.

"In the Western Division, we had our Indian team out there and when they went to places like Korovuto, Mulomulo and Votualevu to ask the people to go to the Registrar's Office to register. They wouldn't so they said if they had house-to-house voter registration and people miss out, then it is the responsibility of the Elections Office to make a second visit."

[PIR editor’s note: According to PIR files, Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry raised concern in October that there were irregularities in the registration of voters by the Elections Office, specifically in the registration of voters in the Indian communal constituencies (read the story).]

January 4, 2006

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

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