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Provisional ‘not approved’ candidates

Provisional ‘not approved’ candidates
Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem
May 05
15:06 2018

The Fijian Elections Office (FEO) yesterday clarified that provisional candidates announced by registered political parties were not approved candidates to contest the 2018 General Election.

It said official candidates would only be approved by FEO unless and until the writ of elections were issued and nominations were received.

“Political parties within their own mechanisms may approve candidates who will contest the election on their behalf, but they are not carrying the approval of FEO under the legal framework,” said Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.

“I would like to clarify that the FEO does not recognise someone as a provisional candidate because the law has not effectively started the process for nominations.”

He said political parties and those interested to take up candidacy needed to thoroughly understand the legal framework surrounding political party funding in Fiji.

For individuals who wish to donate, a person is allowed to donate a maximum of FJ$10,000 in one financial year.

“This can be $10,000 to one party or candidate or it can be broken down into contributions to many parties or many candidates,” Mr Saneem said.

“Individually, a person can only donate up to $10,000.”

Mr Saneem said it was important for people who were donating money to ensure they kept receipts for all donations they made.

“If a person does not have receipts for monies donated, the individual may find themselves in some legal problems in the event the FEO receives a complaint and investigates,” he said.

Mr Saneem said the Auditor-General recently completed the audit process of all registered political parties, except Unity Fiji Party because it was only registered this year.

A common finding in most parties was that there was no proper recording or there was inaccurate recording of revenue, Mr Saneem said.

“As such the FEO felt it was important for them to understand the legal framework so the parties are able to carry out clearly the recording of revenue for the purposes of reporting.”

He highlighted that the Multinational Observer Group for the 2014 General Election found that political funding reporting requirements in Fiji were consistent with best practices and, therefore, the Supervisor of Election had urged all political parties to comply with the relevant provisions so the election is up to international expectations.

“I urge all interested persons, particularly those who wish to contest the election, to carefully go through the provisions, obtain legal advice to ensure that they are in compliance with the law to the fullest.”

For members of the public who will give donations, Mr Saneem’s advice is to ask for receipts.

“A receipt issued to you is a protection and allows you to justify in the event there is an allegation of excess of $10,000 contribution,” he said.

“A receipt issued by the parties or persons is a protection for the party and the person because then you will be able to clearly stipulate the income.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback:  ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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