NEWS

Election Update: Fijian Elections Office Tells Parties To Campaign Fairly

Expecting political campaigns to intensify in the coming months, the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) has called on parties to exercise caution when communicating messages. Speaking at a press conference in
02 Nov 2017 13:34
Election Update: Fijian Elections Office Tells Parties To Campaign Fairly
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem. Photo: Fijian Elections Office

Expecting political campaigns to intensify in the coming months, the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) has called on parties to exercise caution when communicating messages.

Speaking at a press conference in Suva yesterday, Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, said his office would prioritise safeguarding voters from possible “unethical or unfair campaign practices.” 

This included campaigns on social media.

“Voters must be allowed to exercise their right to choose their preferred candidate and vote for them without any form of threat, intimidation or inducement,” Mr Saneem said.

“It is common knowledge that campaigns can unscrupulously target potential groups of voters which may have negative effects on other groups.

“It is essential that information and language used in campaigns uphold the dignity of individuals.

“We would also (like to) add that campaigners must ensure that voters are not misled with incorrect information.”

Public appearances by political figures in recent months have seen an upswing as Election Day – which Mr Saneem said could be as little as six months away – approaches.

He said FEO would refer any reports of malpractice in campaigns to the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption (FICAC) for investigation, sighting ethical campaigning as critical to a “free and fair election.”

“The FEO will stand to ensure voters are not misled with incorrect information,” he said.

“We urge every voter to be conscious of their individual right to choose their own candidate and this right should not be compromised by any other individual.”

Director for the Fiji National University’s Centre for International and Regional Affairs Richard Herr said malpractice in campaigning could invalidate a democratic election.

Mr Herr is the author of the book, ‘Parliament 101, A Guide to the Parliament of Fiji.’

He added: “When a party uses unethical and unfair means of spreading information, they are actually insulting the voters by believing they (the voters) are not smart enough to know when they are being lied to.”

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

Feedback:  sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj



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