Fiji Sets Election Date, Releases Decree, Appoints Supervisor

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One-day poll to be September 17

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 30, 2014) – The Australian Government and the European Union have recognised as welcomed development the Fijian Government's announcements on election date, the appointment of a Supervisor of Election and the release of the election legislation.

The Fijian Government on Friday set 17 September 2014 as the date for the country's elections in nearly eight years, named former PS Elections and Justice, Mohammed Saneem as Elections Supervisor and released a 55-page long 2014 Electorate Decree which contains provisions for the lead up to the election, conduct of election on poll date proper as well as post-election process.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop acknowledged the announcements as important steps towards elections while also confirming further support towards Fiji's preparation for the election.

"I confirm that, at the request of Fiji, Australia will provide additional support through funding two Australian experts to work in key positions in the Fijian Elections Office as the Deputy Supervisor of Elections (Michael Clancy) and the Director of Operations.

"This will build on the significant role Australia is already playing in supporting Fiji’s electoral preparations and its return to parliamentary democracy.

"It is also pleasing to receive Fiji’s invitation for Australia to observe Fiji’s elections and we look forward to discussions on next steps," Bishop said.

She further stressed the need for the people of Fiji to participate in an open and inclusive debate on the future of their country, calling on the Electoral Commission and the Supervisor "in administering the decree to build confidence in the election process including through voter education, encouraging vibrant public discussion and outreach to political parties over the coming months." Meanwhile, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, Catherine Ashton says she is "looking forward to an electoral process that ensures equal opportunities to all candidates and political parties with free and balanced media coverage." Ashton further says a credible transparent and inclusive process will assure the people of Fiji and international partners of the legitimacy of the outcome of the elections.

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