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EDITORIAL: Election Credible, Says MOG. So Let’s Accept Result

By tomorrow, the outcome of the General Elec­tion is likely to be determined. Accepting the result will be tough for those on the losing teams, but a welcome celebration for
17 Nov 2018 12:01
EDITORIAL: Election Credible, Says MOG.  So Let’s Accept Result

By tomorrow, the outcome of the General Elec­tion is likely to be determined. Accepting the result will be tough for those on the losing teams, but a welcome celebration for the winners and their supporters.

The losing side is likely to look for loopholes in the system and create doubt in the minds of Fijians about the credibility of our voting system.

This is already happening on social media.

But yesterday the Multinational Observer Group (MOG), its interim statement, said the result of our election was on track to reflect the will of Fijian vot­ers and that they were able to exercise their right to vote freely.

The Group’s findings were based on the conduct of the electoral processes compared with the electoral laws and international best practices.

Here are some facts about the MOG and what they are mandated to do:

Established at the invitation of the Fijian Govern­ment;

MOG’s terms of reference is to observe and evalu­ate a wide range of electoral processes;

They are to assess whether or not the outcome of the election broadly represented the will of the Fijian voters; and

Whether or not the arrangements in place for the election assisted Fijian voters to exercise their right to vote freely.

The MOG consists of 77 observers, from Australia, Canada, the Federated States of Micronesia, France, French Polynesia, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zea­land, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Tonga, the United King­dom, the United States of America and Vanuatu.

The MOG has 25 long-term observers and Secre­tariat staff

Observers visited more than 460 polling stations on Election Day across the four divisions

While handing down its interim statement on the conduct of the 2018 General Election, the MOG co-chairs commended the Fijian Elections Office for its efforts to encourage voters to turn up and cast their ballot despite the bad weather which affected the country on election day.

The voting process was conducted professionally and largely without error.

the MOG was impressed by the professionalism and transparency of the FEO

Polling was administered smoothly and procedures were followed.

The MOG observed that the FEO had taken on board many of the lessons learned from the 2014 Gen­eral Election and refined many of its internal pro­cesses.

The counting of votes has so far been conducted professionally and largely without error.

All votes are counted by hand and by multiple elec­tion officials in full view of political party agents if they wished to observe. As a result, it was difficult for errors to occur.

The MOG also noted a number of issues which they’ve labelled as “minor”. This included the deci­sion by the electoral authorities to close polling ven­ues because of bad weather. The MOG believe this was a good decision.

Another issue was that of voters who could not find their names on the voter list. From their findings, it became clear that it was the voter who was at fault. Ei­ther the voter had not checked where they were listed or the voter had changed their details with the FEO and had forgotten.

The Group will take heed of electoral disputes and challenges to the results if they do arise.

These are only preliminary findings.

The MOG will continue to carry out its role including the rescheduled voting today, tabulation and declara­tion of final official results and the allocation of seats.

For now, they believe the FEO’s conduct of Fiji’s elec­toral procedures is credible.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj



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