NEWS

Chaudhry Caught Out

Former Prime Minister and leader of Fiji Labour Party Mahendra Chaudhry yesterday alleged that a vote given by his Party president Lavinia Padarath to herself was not counted in the
17 Aug 2018 10:00
Chaudhry Caught Out
Mahendra Chaudary during the panel discussion and public forum on August 16,2018.Photo:Simione Haravanua.

Former Prime Minister and leader of Fiji Labour Party Mahendra Chaudhry yesterday alleged that a vote given by his Party president Lavinia Padarath to herself was not counted in the final poll.

He made the alarming comment and stuck to it, despite being told that the Fijian Elections Office mobile phone app showed that one vote was cast for Mrs Padarath at the St Joseph’s Secondary School polling station.

Chairperson for the Fijian Electoral Commission Suresh Chandra said they were alarmed at the “outrageous, unsubstantiated and prejudicial” comments uttered by Mr Chaudhry alleging that the 2014 General Election was rigged.

“We are surprised at the allegations and we would like Mr Chaudhry to furnish us with evidence of his claims,” Mr Chandra said.

“This is unbecoming of a person who was once a Prime Minister and having held various other ministerial portfolios. Mr Chaudhry should apologise to the Fijian people for making such a tainted, unsubstantiated statement.”

He said in 2014 pre-poll had a low turnout and only 51,039 people voted out of 66,389 voters.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said if Mr Chaudhry did not have evidence to speak with then he must apologise to the people of Fiji.

“Mr Chaudhry must realise that it was very irresponsible of him to make such a statement. The Fijian Elections Office is very concerned at such behaviour from leaders of political parties.”

Mr Chaudhry had said: “Our Party president Lavinia Padarath, her polling station was St Joseph’s Secondary School, she went there personally and voted for herself, but according to records, Labour Party never got a single vote from that polling station,” he said.

He added that similar issues arose at the other polling stations, there were people and family members that went up to them and had stated that they had voted, but it was not shown in the results.

“Where did the results go? This is why I am saying that it was rigged no matter what they say. If they want to prove it, open up the ballot boxes, let’s recount and see if it matches the results that were announced.”

When a Fiji Sun journalist informed him that the app showed there was one voted cast for Mrs Padarath, Mr Chaudhry said: “I maintain what I said.”

Mr Chaudhry had also said that polling venues at military camps was kept to intimidate soldiers.

Mr Saneem said that Mr Chaudhry is misconceived when assuming that soldiers who voted in military bases only voted in “one particular direction” for fear that there would be recrimination.

He said one had to open the 2014 election results application to see the outcome of each venue.

“You will see that the soldiers had complete freedom to vote for whoever they chose.”

“These statements are very irresponsible, poorly conceived and are political attempts to undermine the process that took place in 2014, which was well-received by all Fijians.”

Mr Saneem added that the speeches delivered by the party leaders at the meeting was an indication of their “sheer disregard for respect of public opinion”.

Edited by Jyoti Pratibha

selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj



Five square Da Bang Sale


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