Fiji's Supervisor Of Elections Has No Intention To Step Down

Saneem calls Fiji Labour Party leaders attempt to politicize his office 'regrettable' 

By Tevita Vuibau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 27, 2017) – Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem says he will not step down from his post.

He said attempts to politicise his office in the lead-up to the 2018 General Election were regrettable. Mr Saneem made the comments after Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry called for his resignation and the cessation of all work by his office until a new Electoral Commission was appointed.

"I will not be resigning. I am working as hard as I can in consultation with all political parties to produce a successful election in 2018," said Mr Saneem. "And that's what my hard working team at the Fijian Elections Office and I intend to do."

Mr Saneem said his office had set a standard in 2014 which was acknowledged by the Fijian people and 20 other nations and he intended to maintain it.

"The Supervisor of Elections is apolitical, independent and I am heading a crack team intent on doing their duty for every Fijian. It isn't about party politics. It is about the integrity of the process."

Mr Chaudhry said an Electoral Commission was needed to direct the work of the Elections Supervisor, adding these were issues the party would raise with authorities.

"Until such time as the new commission is appointed, the Supervisor of Elections can suspend all his work because the commission needs to be in place to direct him and that's the other thing that we are taking up," he said in an interview with this newspaper.

The previous commission's term came to an end on January 9 and no replacements have been named yet.

Mr Chaudhry said Mr Saneem should have resigned following the much publicised court case against the Electoral Commission.

During the 2014 election, Mr Saneem had decided against following a directive of the commission and proceeded to draw the National Candidates List of the 2014 General Election.

The Fiji Court of Appeal eventually ruled in favour of the Electoral Commission. Mr Chaudhry said Mr Saneem should have resigned immediately after the court's ruling.

"Then we have these incidents of him overruling the Electoral Commission itself and then losing the legal battle.

"That in itself was sufficient reason for him resigning by himself. Now of course, he didn't do that. Now of course, we will have to take these up with the authorities that he should be replaced."

Fiji Times Online.
Copyright © 2017 Fiji Times Online. All Rights Reserved

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