NEWS

No Chance For Early Election

ANALYSIS: If you’re thinking of an early general election, forget it. This parliamentary term will run its full course before Parliament is prorogued. There are two reasons why there are
05 Jan 2017 11:00
No Chance For Early Election
SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka

ANALYSIS:

If you’re thinking of an early general election, forget it.

This parliamentary term will run its full course before Parliament is prorogued.

There are two reasons why there are no chances of an early election.

1) The FijiFirst Government feels it has a firm hold on the affairs of the State. It also feels confident that it can hold its ground in the popularity stakes.

2) It still has unfinished business in the recovery and rehabilitation programme after Tropical Cyclone Winston and Tropical Depression 04F.

 

Confidence

While SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka has created some waves since he took over the reins from Ro Teimumu Kepa last year, SODELPA has not gained enough traction to worry FijiFirst.

Even though SODELPA’s early hunt for candidates has begun, FijiFirst appears unruffled.

Mr Rabuka has been working hard to reconcile the rival factions in the party and achieve unity, but he is still a long way off from achieving his dream.

He will have to go with what he has got and that is why he is calling for co-operation with other political parties to try to unseat the Bainimarama Government. He knows SODELPA cannot do it alone. In this state, one would think this is the best time to call for an early poll with SODELPA trying to put its act together.

But it appears FijiFirst is oozing confidence. It is expected to ride out its first term in Government by ensuring that all those still living in tents after Tropical Cyclone Winston move into their new homes as early as possible this year, under the Help For Home initiative.

It also would like to see all schools affected one way or another by the natural disaster are fully equipped and operational.

This year Fiji would be busy with COP23 in Bonn, Germany, and World Ocean Summit in New York. Fiji holds COP23 presidency and co-hosts the summit with Sweden.

Section 58 of the Constitution says term of parliament is ordinarily four years, unless dissolved earlier, from the date of its first sitting after a general election.

According to the Fijian Elections Office, Parliament first sat on  October 6, 2014 and as per section 58(3), the President may dissolve parliament acting on the advice of the Prime Minister after a lapse of three years and six months from the date of its first sitting.

Thereafter the President is required to issue the Writ for Elections within seven days.

The Writ of Elections is expected in April next year. So there is not much time left anyway.

Last year the Fijian Elections Office reminded all persons interested to be candidates in the 2018 General Election that April 6, 2016, marked the start of the 18-month legal residential requirement under section 58 of the Constitution and sections 23 (4)(c) and 23 (5) of the Electoral Decree, 2014.

All potential candidates must be present and living in Fiji for no less than 18 months in the two-year period which may possibly be calculated backwards from any date between April 6, 2018 and October 13, 2018.

Judging by preliminary interests based on application for names of five new proposed political parties, we can expect a significant increase in the number of candidates contesting the 2018 general election.

The unlikelihood of an early election provides them ample time to organise themselves.

Edited By: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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