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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 5) – More than 500 applicants were received by the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party in Fiji for the 71 parliament seats to be contested under the party's banner during the general election in May.

[PIR editor’s note: The Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party will reportedly hold its own primary elections (read the story). Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase scheduled the national elections for May 6th through the 13th (read the story).]

Party National Director Jale Baba said the applications included members of the former Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party that was dissolved last month and merged with the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party.

"We have short-listed the candidates to 322 and managed to complete the selection of 33 seats from the 71 seats," he said.

Mr. Baba said they expected to release the names of their candidates before the end of the month.

The party is assessing the registration and viewing the electronic copy of the provisional roll.

Mr. Baba said they had referred to the Supervisor of Elections some errors and gaps that needed to be looked at in the provisional roll.

"Our preparation has been going well and we expect to release our manifesto before the end of the month with a few adjustment conducted to suit the economy we are in and include issues that we have the funding to carry out," he said.

Meanwhile, Fiji Labor Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said they were visiting the Northern Division at the weekend and held wide consultation with the people of Labasa and Savusavu [on Vanua Levu island’s north and south coasts, respectively, in Fiji].

He said they would probably announce their candidates before the dissolution of the House of Representative on March 27.

Mr. Chaudhry said they had been preparing well for the general election and their preparation had been on schedule.

He has raised concerns on the clash of dates between the objection period for a supplementary roll and polling could nullify the 2006 general election.

He said with voter registration to cease seven days after the issuance of the writ of election, a supplementary roll would have to be put out.

March 6, 2006

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