Academic: Fiji Election Observers' Mandate ‘Too Restrictive"

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Academic: Fiji Election Observers' Mandate ‘Too Restrictive" Dr. Brij Lal says ‘broader environment’ must be considered

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 18, 2014) – An academic says the terms on which a multi-national observer group will monitor Fiji's election next month's election are too restrictive.

Fiji has agreed to a 14-nation observer group, which will be led by Australia, India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Brij Lal from the Australian National University says the observer group should not just be looking at what happens on election day, but the broader environment, in which elections are taking place.

Dr Lal says it has not been a level playing field, the media is not free to report on campaigns and the public are anxious about expressing their point of view.

"The terms of reference for the observer mission are very, very restrictive. Looking at the electronic voting, the nomination and registration of voters and candidates, the dynamics of a single-day voting, reconciliation of ballot boxes. An election is more than simply what takes place on that day, " says Brij Lal.

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