The Fiji Labour Party is happy with its results in last Saturday’s municipal elections having made good inroad in several key towns and having retained its dominance in Lautoka.
The Party is particularly pleased with the results in Suva where it won all five seats in the Samabula Ward and now basically holds the balance of power in the Suva City Council. In other results with 20 seats up for grabs in five wards, the NFP-led multiracial coalition of Mayor Chandu Umaria won 8 seats and Qarase’s SDL Party won 7.
Umaria who was confident of retaining the mayoral seat, is now struggling to hang on to it despite Prime Minister Qarase’s personal endorsement of his candidature. Mayoral election was aborted on Thursday and is now expected to take place on Monday.
FLP had failed to win a single seat in Suva in the previous municipal elections held in 1999.
In Nadi, the FLP which previously held no seats here now has five after making a clean sweep of all five seats in the Martintar Ward. NFP won 10 Seats in Nadi.
In Lautoka, the Party took 10 seats retaining its hold in two wards while the SDL took the five seats in the Waiyavi ward. The FLP-led council will choose its mayor next week.
In Ba, the FLP once again lost all seats – its support split by the so-called Ratepayers Association allowing the NFP to retain its hold on the town. In Labasa, FLP won two losing the other 10 to the Ratepayers Association.
However, the FLP intends to legally contest the election results in Ba and Labasa following evidence of widespread vote rigging and electoral fraud. The Party is currently compiling evidence of the following fraudulent practices in both Ba and Labasa :
People were brought in from outside the town boundary and registered as voters. In Labasa 300 such cases were objected to but the objections were ignored by the electoral authorities
In all municipalities, scores of people with registration slips were turned away because their names were not on the final rolls
Names of a lot of people appeared in the provisional rolls but were mysteriously missing from the final rolls. In Ba, a number of these were known Labour Party supporters.
There was obvious collusion between officials from the district Officer’s (Dos) office and certain political parties