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Analysis: No Restriction On Campaign Before Writ Of Elections

Analysis: No Restriction On Campaign Before Writ Of Elections
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem.
August 30
12:37 2018

Opposition politicians are wrong when they say they cannot campaign because the writ of elections has not been issued.

They can campaign. There is no restriction in the electoral law that stipulates that they have to wait for the writ.

This has been confirmed by Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem.

It’s just another excuse to justify why they trail well behind the FijiFirst Government in the public opinion poll.

In fact it is common knowledge that Opposition political parties are holding pocket meetings because they find them cost effective and more productive than  mass rallies.

SODELPA calls them awareness meetings not campaign. While politicians talk about voting, polling stations and other aspects of the mechanics of the polling in these meetings they have also been asked a whole range of election issues to explain and clarify and they have responded.

That is campaigning. If it is not then what is it?

Smart politicians will not wait for the writ of election to begin their campaign.

In fact the campaign should have started months ago. It is understood some politicians are finding it hard to keep up with the cost of campaigning.

In 2014, Opposition parties said they did not have enough time to campaign.

They cannot say the same thing this time around.

They have had enough time to organise their campaign programme.

Instead of looking for excuses they should be stepping up their campaign.

It is not difficult to work out that with the remaining time left, the election could be in October or early November.

The writ of election is expected to be announced soon after the President’s appointment tomorrow by Parliament.

In a social media post, SODELPA provisional candidate Tanya Waqanika, said: “If you want my team and me to come to your area within the Suva area, inbox me.  Rest assured, we will not campaign & we are not allowed to campaign.  It is merely an awareness that we will conduct.

“Campaign commences once the writ is issued. You will hear from us some of the key following information :

  • “Dhondt Election system- understanding the voting system, parties meeting the minimum threshold & the unfairness on small political parties meeting the minimum threshold;
  • “Your polling venues & polling stations within your areas;
  • “The number of polling agents that the SODELPA Suva Constituency requires
  • “A legal explanation from a practising lawyer (me  – over 20 years as a lawyer) on the Land Use Decree, Regulation of the Surfing Decree, Nadi Development (Dredging) Decree- law that was imposed that affected only the three Yavusa of Nadi.
  • “You get to hear facts, truth and stats.
  • Q & A.”

This sounds like it’s more than an awareness programme – it’s a fully-fledged campaign.

So what does Ms Waqanika mean when she says they cannot campaign?

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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