NATION

Election: 914 Voter Turn Out On Day 1

Members of the Fiji Teachers Union turned out in numbers yesterday to cast their vote and decide on the union leadership for the next two years. At the end of
17 Apr 2021 12:27
Election: 914 Voter Turn Out On Day 1
Teachers Rajnesh Lingam (left) Nigel Sukhu and FTU general secretary Agni Deo Singh with a flyer during the Fiji Teachers Union elections in Suva on the April 16, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord

Members of the Fiji Teachers Union turned out in numbers yesterday to cast their vote and decide on the union leadership for the next two years.

At the end of day, the Fijian Elections Office recorded a preliminary turnout of 914 voters, surpassing the total turnout at the last national election in 2019, which was 500.

Primary school teacher Penina Draunibaka, who voted at the FTU Headquarters, is encouraging members who are yet to vote to do so today at one of the 22 polling venues.

The two-day election ends today at 3pm.

“I have been a member for 19 years and I know the people who are running the show very well,” she said.

“We know the right people to do the job for us.

“We have some new faces but I am confident with our executives because we have known how well they are running the union.”

In Nadi, at the Sangam Sadhu Kuppuswamy Memorial College polling venue, Nadi Primary School head teacher Avinesh Lingam said FTU needed change in governance.

“It has been long overdue,” he said.

“We don’t need the teachers union to be investing into hotels and other things.

“We need them to invest in teachers, like looking at the contracts of teachers, conferences and workshops for the teachers.

“Our core role is learning and teaching not to invest money into hotels.”

Andrews Primary School assistant head teacher Praneel Chand said: “The union should see the welfare of the teachers.

“It should provide more support for the education system.”

Current FTU General Secretary Agni Deo Singh said: “It’s very encouraging and healthy that members are taking interest in their union.”

Complaint

He said he was disappointed that some candidates were violating the election rules by visiting the polling venues and handing out flyers to voters.

“The elections office had advised us that we candidates and campaigners must stay 300metres away from the polling venue,” Mr Singh said.

“Our team is abiding by the rule but from the other team candidates have been right at the venue.

“Our people have complained to the presiding officer and Police officer. They were there for more than an hour. That is something that should not have happened.

“I don’t know whether the presiding officers were clearly advised or instructed of all the rules if so they should have taken action immediately.”

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said: “Having considered the constitution of the FTU as well as the Trade Union Election Guidelines, the FEO is of the view that for trade union elections, small scale elections, the FEO’s restricted area is the polling station.

“Therefore, in the absence of any specific rule in the constitution of the FTU prohibiting campaign or handing out of how to vote materials, the FEO is unable to restrict any such activity outside of the polling station.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj



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