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By Avinesh Gopal

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, March 2) – The Fiji Labor Party believes the early general election will be a disaster. It says that election officials will not be able to rectify discrepancies in the provisional rolls in a short time.

The Fiji Labor Party’s Ba parliamentarian, Gaffar Ahmed, said the so-called errors in the provisional rolls were laughable. Mr. Ahmed is a Member of Parliament for the Ba West Indian Communal Constituency. But he said about 1,000 people from other constituencies have been registered in his constituency.

[PIR editor’s note: Ba is located on the northwest coast of Viti Levu island in Fiji.]

"It is really funny that some people from Bua in [southwest] Vanua Levu, Lautoka [to the southwest of Ba], and other parts of the country are registered in my constituency," he said. "One can clearly see the inefficiency of the Elections Office because of the wrong registrations. "Considering that such things are happening now, I believe that this General Election will be a mess. If there were an early election, then it would be a disaster because nothing is in order. This is a matter of concern and I don’t think that elections officials will be able to rectify the discrepancies in a few weeks," he said.

Mr. Ahmed, however, said that it was good the Supervisor of Elections, Semesa Karavaki, had taken heed of Fiji Labor Party’s complaints. "We urge the Supervisor of Elections to verify the provisional rolls properly," he said.

"Whatever discrepancies are in the provisional rolls cannot be termed as errors. There seems to be carelessness and inefficiency on the part of elections officials and they should rectify it themselves," he said.

Mr. Ahmed said the discrepancies in the provisional rolls had left many to wonder whether they would be able to vote or not.

He said party members in most districts had raised the issue after they failed to find their names, which were listed elsewhere. Labor officials in recent weeks had continuously complained about the roll.

March 3, 2006


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