Fiji NGOs Say Electoral Commission Meeting Was ‘Positive’

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Elections Office pledge ‘a transparent, free and fair election for’ all

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 19, 2014) – Two local NGOs that met with the Electoral Commission today described the meeting as positive as the country prepares for polls which is due before September end this year.

Apisalome Tudreu, executive director of Transparency International and Tara Chetty, programme’s director of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and described it as a great opportunity to be updated on the commission’s work so far and share ideas on ways to help the Elections Office and commission ensure a transparent, free and fair election for every Fijian.

"It feels good coming in to discuss moving forward in this manner," Tudreu said.

Like others, Transparency International is awaiting the release of the Electoral Legislation to determine how best to contribute to the Electoral process.

Tudreu says they were told that the Electoral Regulation will be out soon, most probably later this week.

"For TI we are really interested in transparent and accountable leaders," Tudreu said.

In the meantime, Transparency International has continued its awareness programmes in communities around Fiji.

The awareness initiative is particularly aimed at youths, educating them on what to expect from transparent and accountable leaders with a view to help them make the decision they believe is right when they make their votes count in the forthcoming general election.

Meanwhile, Chetty said it was a great opportunity to meet with the Electoral Commission to get an update on progress towards elections, particularly in disseminating information to the public especially to women.

She says it is the objective of the FWRM to empower women as voters and also as candidates hence believe a partnership with the commission will help ensure that.

Five other NGOs were invited to the one-hour meeting at the Elections Office today as part of the Electoral Commission’s efforts "to learn as much as possible what NGOs are already doing and whether they will be extending their work to include voter education."

In a brief statement, Electoral Commission chairperson Chen Bunn Young said the meeting was vital.

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