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Analysis: Election Rigging Claims Part Of Conspiracy Theory

Opposition parties, excluding HOPE, have renewed their conspiracy theory that the 2018 General Election is rigged just like the 2014 election. This is a ploy to try to divert attention
17 Aug 2018 09:08
Analysis: Election Rigging Claims Part Of Conspiracy Theory

Opposition parties, excluding HOPE, have renewed their conspiracy theory that the 2018 General Election is rigged just like the 2014 election.

This is a ploy to try to divert attention away from the trending public opinion poll conducted by the Fiji Sun-Razor poll that shows FijiFirst maintaining a commanding lead.

The trend is similar to the opinion poll results before the 2014 General Election, which pointed to an outright FijiFirst victory.

The latest move by the parties is an act of desperation and designed to cast aspersions on the integrity of the election.

This is virtually the same group with some new faces that made claims of vote rigging in 2014 without any credible evidence.

The Multinational Observer Group overseeing the election on the ground said it was a fair and credible election.

It said the election result broadly reflected the will of Fijian voters.

The group of almost 100 monitors, led by delegations from Australia, India and Indonesia, added that the vote had been “conducted in an atmosphere of calm, with an absence of electoral misconduct or evident intimidation”

Australia is again ready to take the lead role for MOG and waiting for the election dates to be set.

Those who fronted for the Opposition parties in two separate meetings yesterday included SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka, Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry, National Federation Party’s Seini Nabou, Freedom Alliance Party rep Aminiasi Navuso and Unity Fiji’s Satish Kumar.

NFP leader Biman Prasad and president Pio Tikoduadua were conspicuously absent. They might have prior engagement, but if this was a serious matter either of them would have attended like Mr Rabuka and Mr Chaudhry did. The other likely plausible explanation is that neither Mr Prasad nor Mr Tikoduadua would like to be seen beside Mr Rabuka because it could start speculation that NFP and SODELPA are in cahoots.

HOPE’s leader Tupou Draunidalo did not attend the meetings. It reflects her hostility towards Mr Rabuka for carrying out the 1987 military coups. Her mother, Adi Kuini, was married to Dr Timoci Bavadra, who led the NFP-FLP coalition to victory in the 1987 election, but his government was  deposed by Mr Rabuka.

Her attitude towards Mr Rabuka was one of the main reasons why she quit NFP as its president to help form HOPE after the party started courting Mr Rabuka when he became SODELPA leader.

Since then Mr Prasad has been wary of associating the party with Mr Rabuka. The other big reason is that it is not lost on Mr Prasad and the party as a whole that the last time the NFP under its then leader Jai Ram Reddy went into coalition with Mr Rabuka’s SVT Party it was annihilated in the 1999 General Election. Mr Chaudhry’s FLP won a landslide victory as a result and he became the first Indo-Fijian prime minister.

So the NFP is walking the political tightrope, doing the delicate balancing act between solidarity with SODELPA on issues like the election integrity and a possible backlash from its supporters who have not forgiven Mr Rabuka for the 1987 coups.

NFP has also made it clear that it will not join any coalition before the election. However, it has not ruled it out after the election. It says it will wait after the election before it can consider it.

The NFP no doubt has noticed that Ms Draunidalo and HOPE have made an impact on the latest Fiji Sun-Razor poll result after the party was registered.

This latest noise about alleged rigging in the election by the other opposition parties is a smokescreen to mask the real challenges facing them. They realise they are fighting a losing battle and so they resort to desperate tactics.

They hope the claims they have aired will buy them time. It’s a waste of time and energy.

The reality is that they are racing against time – which is almost up.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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