FIJI NEWS

Electoral manual will help public: A-G

By ROSI DOVIVERATA Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says that the manual that will help aspiring candidates will also be beneficial for the public. It will tell
06 Mar 2014 12:24

By ROSI DOVIVERATA

Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says that the manual that will help aspiring candidates will also be beneficial for the public.
It will tell the public what their candidates should do. He added that academics working on the project were apolitical.
“They will be objective, that they are not contesting in some political party themselves. They are not going to politicise the issue.”
For the first time, aspiring candidates will have a manual to refer to regarding the entire electoral process. The manual was recommended by the European Union Electoral Observers team who were here for the 2006 general elections.
The manuals will be published in English, iTaukei and Hindi by the Division of Planning and Development of the Fiji National University.
The creation, publication and distribution of these manuals have been made possible by the Japanese Government, through its Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Human Security Projects.
Japan will provide $450,350 to Supplementary training workshops will also be carried out by the university.
It is understood that work on the draft manual has started. FNU will be liasing with the Electoral Commission on the release of the manual.

Japanese support
Formalising Japan’s funding yesterday, Kinzo Nakagun, the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Japan said: “I always believe that democracy enshrines the will and power of the people of a nation and general elections is the process through which it is accomplished.
“In this respect, Japan is happy to be able to provide assistance to Fiji in better preparing the electorate for the elections.”

Manual
A statement from the embassy said that the manuals and workshops were specifically geared towards educating those who wish to participate in the elections.
“The aim is to promote the interest of potential candidates in contesting in the forthcoming elections by clarifying the risks, challenges and benefits of political participation – then raise awareness among candidates and the general public regarding good governance principles, the electoral system in Fiji and the importance of inclusive political representation.
“By providing the necessary education to ensure a broader and informed participation by the people of Fiji in the electoral process, this project hopes to contribute to the democratisation of Fiji at the grassroots level and beyond.”

Academic
Professor Richard Herr is the Director of the Centre for International and Regional Affairs at the University of Fiji.
Regarding the manual, he said: “It is simply intended to make sure that people can with assurance campaign legally and ethically – they have to know the laws and the timing and all the things they need to comply with. It will also include advice on the ethics of adhering to the law and that’s important because we want people to behave with respect for democracy on all sides.”




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