Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says he stands by his statement that it may be unlawful for the Elections Office to call for re-registration of all voters.
He is responding to the Supervisor of Elections claim that he was “grandstanding” and needed to seek legal advice on the matter.
“It is, in fact, Supervisor Saneem who needs to seek legal clarification,” Mr Chaudhry said.
The legislation that governs all matters pertaining to voter registration is the Electoral (Registration of Voters) Decree (No 54 of 2012) and its later amendments (Decree 66 of 2012 and Decree 9 of 2014).
“And not the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1975 that the Supervisor of Elections is now using to base his claims on,” Mr Chaudhry said.
Nowhere does Decree 54 or its subsequent amendments provide for re-registration of voters.
The National Register of Voters is a permanent document. The Supervisor of Elections is only required to revise it from time to time – the reasons for which are clearly stipulated in Section 12 of Decree 54:
In case a person is dead, ceases to be a citizen, declared unfit or otherwise disqualified from voting, on the application of a registered voter to record change in name, address or to reinstate names removed by mistake, or correct errors etc.
“Supervisor Saneem needs to get his facts right. He has been found wrong in his interpretation of the Electoral laws by the courts on several instances since 2014 and even received strong rebuke from the Court of Appeal judges,” Mr Chaudhry said.
“Furthermore, Mr Saneem should learn to uphold the independence and impartiality of the Office of the Supervisor of Elections at all times,” Mr Chaudhry said.
“It is highly irregular and improper for him as Supervisor to make statements that are politically demeaning against leaders of opposition parties who are merely doing their duty to protect the rights and interests of the people, in this case the voters of Fiji.”
“He can correct statements, if he deems it necessary and stick to facts, but it is not for him to be making derogatory remarks against political leaders,” Mr Chaudhry said.