The Electoral Commission’s first and most urgent priority should be to appoint a Supervisor of Elections, says Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry.
The Supervisor is the executive head of the Elections Office and should have a major say in the formulation of the electoral decree currently under consideration.
Mr Chaudhry was responding to the announcement by Electoral Commission chairman Chen Bunn Young that the appointment of a Supervisor of Elections had been deferred because the Commission was too busy reviewing the draft electoral decree.
Mr Chaudhry said this was ridiculous: “The deferment seems to be part of a planned strategy to defer the elections.”
The FLP leader also questioned Mr Young’s statement that “there was no specific provision” in legislation already in place for political parties to be given soft copies of the National Voter Rolls.
“I ask him to show us the legislation where it states that political parties should not get soft copies of the Rolls.” Mr. Chaudhry said that it had been the practice in the past for political parties to be given electronic copies of electoral rolls.
Soft copies are held by the regime and would, no doubt, be made available to Bainimarama’s party should he form one. How will Mr Young stop that from happening?
It was the Electoral Commission’s responsibility to facilitate the holding of free, fair and credible elections. By refusing to accommodate political parties’ request for soft copies, the Commission was putting impediments in the way of effective organization of political party campaigns, he said.
“Such statements undermine one’s confidence in the independence and impartiality of the Commission and its ability to ensure that the upcoming elections are held in a free, fair and credible environment, with a level playing field,” Mr Chaudhry said.