Monday, May 14, 2007

Fiji Elections Timetable

Press Statement 45/07

11 May 2007

Independent Technical Assessment of Fiji election timetable

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat today announced that a team has been

engaged to carry out an independent technical assessment of Fiji's election timetable.The team will commence work on Monday (14 May).

The team of experts in electoral and census processes will comprise Mr Paul Harris, co-team leader, Mr Barrie Sweetman, co-team leader, Mr Bruce Hatch and Dr Kesaia Seniloli.

As mandated by the Pacific Islands Forum-Fiji Joint Working Group on the Situation in Fiji, the independent team will assess and advise on the minimum reasonable time required to prepare for, and conduct, the next parliamentary elections in Fiji.

The team will meet in Suva from 14-25 May to consult with relevant Fiji government officials and other technical experts, and begin the preparation of its report. Its findings will be presented to the Working Group in June 2007.

Key points of the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the study are as follows:

(a) Assess whether an election can be held based on the current boundaries and register, or whether some or all of the steps of a census, redistribution and new register need to be taken;

(b) Bearing in mind the views expressed by Ministers, assess the timeframe in which Fiji could conduct:

. a national census;

. a revision of the electoral boundaries drawing on new population information drawn from the census;

. preparations for a national election including the finalisation of a credible register of voters, and appropriate information / education activities; and

. the election and tallying of results;

(c) Assess the need for the introduction of new electoral provisions and processes, including in relation to funding and disclosure, to ensure a fair election process;

(d) Consider the resources available at present in Fiji to undertake these tasks and assess the additional resourcing that would be needed to complete them in the minimum practicable time.

(Ends)

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