2006 general elections a close race

The 2006 general elections was closely fought between the two mainstream parties with SDL getting a slight edge with 36 seats with Labour getting 33 with its coalition partner the UPP.

Two seats went to Independents – the Rotuma communal seat and the North Eastern General Communal by Robin Irwin. The United People’s Party (UPP) of Mick Beddoes won two seats.

The elections showed heavy racial polling with SDL taking all Fijian communal seats and the FLP retaining its 19 Indian communal seats despite a strong bid by the NFP. In addition, FLP won 14 Open seats and the SDL 11.

Labour holds it was cheated of victory by heavy rigging of the polls, particularly in the Open seats in the Nasinu/Nausori constituencies.

The Nausori/Naitasiri Open seat contested by Lavenia Padarath has already gone to court on allegations by her that 12 additional unidentified ballot boxes were brought in during the verification process of the ballot papers.

Her protests at the time were ignored by the Commissioner Central, in a move reminiscent of a similar occurrence in the 2001 general elections, and the count was allowed to proceed with the alleged boxes included.

The Laucala Open seat contested by Labour’s Vijay Nair which went to SDL yesterday after recount, is another one that will likely face court action. According to Labour’s Count Agents, the Party had won the seat but Elections Officials claim their figures showed the seat had gone to SDL.

The dispute will most likely be settled in court.