Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Fiji elections declared 'credible' by monitoring group

14 April 2015, 20:27

Suva - An international monitoring group declared on Tuesday that last year's election in Fiji was "credible", but called for restrictions on the media and civil society groups to be eased.

The September 2014 vote was the first election in the coup-plagued Pacific nation since military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama seized power in 2006.

A multinational observer group (MOG) said it was satisfied the poll, which resulted in a landslide victory for Bainimarama's FijiFirst party, was carried out correctly.

"While the MOG notes areas for improvement of Fiji's electoral process, it deems this a credible election," said the group, which has 92 members from 13 countries around the world as well as the European Union, in its final report.

"The MOG believes the election broadly represented the will of the Fijian voters. The MOG congratulates the people of Fiji on taking this important step in their return to democracy."

More than 500 000 people were registered to vote in the election which for the first time extended full voting rights to Indian Fijians, who make up 40% of the 900 000 population.

The vote was considered pivotal to ending the country's "coup culture", which saw four governments toppled between 1987 and 2006, largely due to tensions between indigenous Fijians and ethnic Indians.

Also read: Indonesian Islamic parties seek to ban alcohol

After the election, the US, Britain and Australia lifted sanctions and Fiji was allowed to rejoin the Commonwealth. However, opposition politicians claimed ballot-rigging had marred the result.

The group criticised the threat of draconian punishments for media deemed to have broken Fiji's restrictive media laws or breached a three-day blackout on election reporting in the lead-up to polling day.

Under the laws, journalists risked a five-year term for publishing political analysis, interviews of candidates or anything that had the potential to influence voters during the blackout period.

"The restrictive and vague media framework, including potentially harsh penalties, limited the media's ability to rigorously examine the claims of candidates and parties," it said.

Another concern raised by the group was a ban on non-government organisations participating in the election process by holding debates, publishing voter information or acting as polling booth observers.

It said the ban, which threatened NGO members with 10-year jail terms, was "unduly restrictive".

"Heavy restrictions were placed on civil society participation in the lead-up to the election," it said, calling for an overhaul of the laws before the next election, scheduled for 2018.


Tags fiji

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...