NFP CONFIRMS OBJECTIONS ARE AGAINST FIJI FIRST CANDIDATES

The National Federation Party confirms that registered voters who are Party Members have filed objections against two candidates from Fiji First.

They are Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Acting Permanent Secretary for Justice Mereseini Vuniwaqa.

Mereseini Vuniwaqa

Mereseini Vuniwaqa was the Acting Permanent Secretary for Justice from January 2012 until her resignation in March 2013. In that capacity, Mrs Vuniwaqa was responsible for elections and performed the functions of the Supervisor of Elections under the State Services Decree 2009 that amended Section 24 (2) (5) of the Electoral (Registration of Voters) Decree 2012 that state: –

“Until such time the Supervisor of Elections is appointed by the President under this section, the functions of the Supervisor of Elections shall be exercised by the Permanent Secretary responsible for elections”.

Mrs Vuniwaqa is therefore barred from standing for elections for a period of four years from her last date of employment under Section 57(2) of the 2013 Constitution ie after March 2017.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum nomination is also in breach of Section 57(2) of the 2013 Constitution and Section 23 (4) (e) of the Electoral Decree 2014, as he was exercising the role of the Electoral Commission until it was taken over by the Permanent Secretary responsible for elections in September 2013 following the promulgation of the Constitution under Section 170 (5).

The State Services Decree was amended by the Electoral (Registration of Voters) Decree 2013 by inserting a new sub-section (24 (1) (2)(g) that states:

“Until such time as members of the Electoral Commission are appointed by the President, the functions of the Electoral Commission shall be performed and the powers of the Electoral Commission shall be exercised by the Minister Responsible for Elections”.

Mr Khaiyum is therefore barred from standing for elections for a period of four years i.e. after September 2017 under Section 57(1) of the Constitution.

In the circumstances, we believe that that both Mereseini Vuniwaqa and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum are ineligible to be nominated as candidates in the September 17 elections.

Kamal Iyer

General Secretary