FORMER PARTY CHAIR SAYS 2006 ELECTION RIGGED

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 2) – The insertion of extra ballot papers in 10 or so crucial urban seats with the help of police and others helped the SDL [party] win the May 2006 general election, says an executive of Fiji's ousted ruling Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua (SDL).

In a video footage from its covert 'Operation Free Fiji' between December 17- 24, 2006, the military shows what appears to be SDL election candidates committee chairman Navitalai Naisoro in conversation with international fraudster Peter Foster, admitting that the party rigged the 2006 General Election to ensure a win for the party.

Naisoro, who was chairman of the SDL candidates' selection and strategy committee, admits in the concealed video that extra ballot papers were used to win the marginal urban seats during the May elections.

Naisoro is seen in the video footage saying ''the police got involved … police opened boxes they were supposed to seal. The police were involved in the rigging with the extra ballot papers".

"The only ones that matter are the urban seats because they are the ones that have the cross over voters and Indian voters who obviously vote Labour."

It is believed he was referring to urban Open seats.

Explaining the methodology of rigging, Naisoro said ballot papers with Fiji Labour Party votes were not taken out of the ballot boxes but extra SDL ballot papers were put in.

"That's too hard. They put extra in," Naisoro says when asked if papers had been taken out.

According to Naisoro, some of the police officers involved in the election process were SDL supporters and adds that Qarase was aware of the rigging.

Foster asks Naisoro in the video what went wrong because Naisoro had told him a month before the election that "we'd win the election standing on our heads".

Naisoro says the whole scenario changed when the preferences were stacked against them.

"I called a meeting. There was a long table. Jale is sitting there with the PowerPoint overhead, behind me is sitting Qarase and the party president and SDL cell. The president said we need to make some changes: 'No more Mister Nice Guy.'"

Naisoro claims in the video that every election has rigging.

"If I was running his (army commander's) campaign, I would reveal the election rort," he says.

But Naisoro says the SDL guys who know about the election rort "will not talk. Those who are capable of doing that are not that weak".

Foster was apparently wired by the military and used hidden cameras and microphones.

He adds that the New Zealand and Australian prime ministers knew of the corruption in the Fiji Government.

"They know it; they know he is corrupt, that's why they never came to his rescue (when Qarase's government was deposed on December 5, 2006)."

Military spokesman Major Neumi Leweni said the footage would explain to the people why the military took decisive action to clean up the corruption stigma that was crippling the country.

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