Australia reposes faith in Fijian elections

Selita Bolanavanua

Australia has confidence in the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) to deliver a credible and fair election this year, High Commissioner John Feakes has said.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun, he said that election held in 2014 was judged by international observers as credible and reflective of the will of the people.

Credible exercise

“I am confident that the FEO would deliver a similar, credible election this year,” he said.

Mr Feakes said that Australia was happy to accept the invitation of the Fijian Government to again co-lead with India and Indonesia, two of the world’s largest democracies,” he said.

“We expect to deploy at least four to six Australian Electoral Commission staff to assist during the election in 2018 in addition to observers,” he said.

Mr Feakes said that Australia has been working closely with FEO since 2014.

Strong Partnership

“We have supported the FEO through a partnership with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), providing short-term inputs in areas such as full Electoral Cycle planning and, logistics and ballot paper printing processes. We currently have two advisers in place, including a Senior Elections Adviser to the FEO largely working on operations and an Adviser,” he said.

The Deputy Supervisor would be from New Zealand.

Mr Feakes said that the Partnership Agreement among the University of South Pacific, FEO, the Indonesian Government and International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance would deliver tertiary level courses on electoral management to Fijians and other members of the Pacific.

“These courses will develop the professionalism of the FEO staff and provide a pipeline of qualified future employees. The FEO also provides training to a number of electoral bodies in other parts of the Pacific,” he said.

Under a Special Arrangement with the Fiji Sun.

Please read our Editorial, ‘Democracy ripens in Fiji,’ under Viewlink.

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Photo Caption:

Australian High Commissioner John Feakes and Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama

In Suva on September 10, 2018.

(Picture by the Australian High Commission)

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