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Constitution confirms next year’s elections

Constitution confirms next year’s elections

The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum has confirmed that next year’s elections will take place as planned.

“There is a provision in the constitution that states there is an election by 30th September 2014,” said Khaiyum.

When asked at the press conference today if it is possible to hold proper elections, Khaiyum replied, “Of course. We have to.”

Under the new constitution, elections will have to be announced at least 60 days before the election date. There will be only one constituency and only one vote per registered voter and one polling day.

The constitution states: “The election of members of Parliament is by multi-member open list system of proportional representation under which each voter has one vote, with each vote being of equal value, in a single electoral roll comprising all the registered voters.”

The seats in parliament will be given to candidates in proportion to the total number of votes cast for each political party, which will be determined by totaling the number of votes cast for each candidate of that political party.

In case of independent candidates only one seat will be awarded in parliament.

The constitution also stipulates that the parliament will consist of 50 elected members. The candidates can be nominated by registered political parties or as independent candidates.

A person may be a candidate for election to Parliament only if the person

a)      is a citizen of Fiji and does not hold citizenship of any other country

b)      is registered on the register of voters

c)      is ordinarily resident in Fiji for at least two years immediately before being nominated

d)     is not an undischarged bankrupt

e)      is not a member of the electoral commission and has not been a member of that commission at any time during the four years immediately before being nominated

f)       is not subject to a sentence of imprisonment when nominated

g)      has not, at any time during the eight years immediately before being nominated, been convicted of any offence under any law for which the maximum penalty is a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more

h)      has not been found guilty of any offence under a law relating to elections, registration of political parties or registration of voters.

Political parties cannot nominate more than 50 candidates, the total number of seats in parliament.

Every Fijian who is or will be 18 on or before the date of the issue of the writ for next election has the right to be registered as a voter.

One does not have the right to be registered as a voter when a person is

a)      serving a sentence of imprisonment of 12 months or longer imposed by a court in Fiji or by a court of another country

b)      under a law in force in Fiji, adjudged or declared to be of unsound mind or

a)      serving a period of disqualification from registration as a voter under a law relating to electoral offences

A person who is registered as a voter, after his or her registration as a voter, ceases to be a registered voter when he is

a)      serving a sentence of imprisonment of 12 months or longer imposed by a court in Fiji or by a court of another country

b)      under a law in force in Fiji, adjudged or declared to be of unsound mind or

c)      serving a period of disqualification from registration as a voter under a law relating to electoral offences

There is also provision for the transition from the day the constitution comes into effect until elections next year that governs the way the country will be run under Chapter 12 – Commencement, Interpretation, Repeals and Transitional.

Under the Transitional section, the president and prime minister, including ministers who were appointed under the Authority of Fiji Decree 2009, will remain in office until the new prime minister assumes office under section 93 of this constitution.

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