Fiji Preparations For Election Education In Early Stages

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Fiji National University taking lead in writing information materials

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 9, 2014) – The Electoral Education manual and leaflets, aimed to educate aspiring candidates for the 2014 Elections, are still in its early stages, says lead writer Professor Richard Herr.

Herr also an adjunct Professor of Governance and Ethics at the Fiji National University told FijiLive that this was partly due to the recent release of the Electoral Decree.

"Care needs to be taken with integrating this decree with other relevant decrees as well as with the constitution to make for a comprehensive manual," he said.

The FNU he further says has carriage of the project and they were ultimately responsible for the translation into Taukei and Hindi.

"It is very much the intention of the project to ensure that the manual will be accessible to all to read in non-technical terms, in whichever language it is printed.

"Naturally to serve its purpose, the manual will have to be available well before the election period begins and I personally anticipate many sleepless nights to meet this "deadline."

Herr also clarified the manual was not for the general education of voters, but rather a candidate manual for the purpose of informing candidates on the electoral process and the laws and rules that govern campaigning.

"The concept was a recommendation of electoral observers after the 2006 elections.

"A candidate’s manual or handbook is a standard form of politically neutral assistance to all candidates in most democratic states to enable candidates and those working with them to be fully briefed on the electoral process and on compliance requirements that may apply to them in the course of an election," Herr said.

The document is expected to provide information on the basics of civic education, the electoral framework that includes Fiji’s electoral calendar, electoral laws and other regulations and guidelines.

It will be distributed through workshops and short courses across Fiji in support of ethical and legally compliant of electoral campaigning.

The FNU also hopes to impart the messages to the public, voters and students.

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