NEWS

India Stands By 2014 Poll Observer Report

The world’s biggest democracy, India, is standing by the Mul­tinational Observer Group (MOG) report on the 2014 General Election which found that it was conducted in a proper and trans­parent
21 Sep 2018 10:13
India Stands By 2014 Poll Observer Report
From left: Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Indian High Commissioner to Fiji Vishvas Sapkal and Indonesian Ambassador to Fiji Benjamin Scott Carnadi at the signing of the Terms of Reference for the Multi National Observer Group on September 20, 2018. Photo: Fonua Talei

The world’s biggest democracy, India, is standing by the Mul­tinational Observer Group (MOG) report on the 2014 General Election which found that it was conducted in a proper and trans­parent manner.

The comment was made in Suva yesterday by the Indian High Com­missioner Vishvas Sapkal and fol­lows comments by some local oppo­sition politicians.

Mr Sapkal was at the signing of the MOG Terms of Reference (TOR) yes­terday finalising the agreement for India to participate as a co-leader in this year’s general election along­side Indonesia and Australia.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun after the signing Mr Sapkal stressed that he did not see any reason to divert from what was entailed in the MOG re­port.

The report states that the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) and election workers were “competent, profes­sional and committed in performing their duties, sometimes under chal­lenging circumstances”.

It said that despite compressed time frames, a complex voting sys­tem and some restrictions in the electoral environment, the condi­tions were in place for Fijians to ex­ercise their right to vote freely.

“While the MOG notes areas for improvement of Fiji’s electoral pro­cess, it deemed this a credible elec­tion,” the report said.

“The MOG believes the election broadly represented the will of the Fijian voters.”

It went on to congratulate Fijians for taking the important step in re­turning to democracy.

FEO Prepared

Mr Sapkal said the best way to strengthen democracy was for all Fijians who were eligible to vote to participate in the upcoming elec­tion.

From his observations, Mr Sapkal said FEO is “very much prepared” for the election.

“I think FEO will deliver a free and fair election that is their work and they will defi­nitely fulfil their responsibility.”In 2014, India provided assistance to the FEO and similarly this year sup­plied 6000 bottles of indelible ink to be used during the election and sup­plied five Mahindra Sport-Utility Vehicles (SUV).

He added that on January 24, 2017, the Supervisor of Elections Moham­med Saneem signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Election Commission of India (ECI) for continued co-operation between the two election commissions.

“India being the largest practis­ing democracy always try to assist countries who are in the process of strengthening democratic rules,” Mr Sapkal said.

He said India was happy to contin­ue as co-leader of the MOG adding that the TOR was discussed by all parties and mutually agreed to.

He said India would always stand ready to support the FEO.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji was privileged to have the three countries as co-leaders in this year’s election.

“India, of course, is the largest de­mocracy in the world. Indonesia is the largest archipelagic democracy in the world and, of course, Austral­ia is a friend of Fiji and leader in the Pacific region,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

For the last general election as of September 16, 2014, the MOG com­prised 92 accredited observers from Australia (22), Canada (2), European Union (3), India (3), Indonesia (15), Israel (2), Japan (7), Melanesian Spearhead Group (5), New Zealand (11), Republic of Korea (2), Rus­sia (3), South Africa (1), Turkey (1), United Kingdom (5) and United States of America (10).

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

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