February 21, 2019
The National Federation Party believes the current Government will
never implement the recommendations of the Multinational Observer Group (MOG) on the conduct of future elections.
NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad says the Party’s belief is based on the fact that scant regard was paid to the MOG Report as well as the Report of the Electoral Commission following the 2014 general elections.
“The Reports were referred to the parliamentary standing committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights but he committee did not report back to parliament for 28 months from then until 1 st October 2018 when parliament was dissolved”.
“The MOG Report should have noted this but failed to do so. This is most unfortunate”.
“And this MOG Report will face similar fate because the recommendations if implemented will prevent government from giving handouts and freebies once parliament is dissolved and writs for elections are issued”.
“It will also prevent deliberately orchestrated social media hate campaign that we fell victims to when fake news sites carrying legitimate logos of mainstream media were created and published malicious and frivolous claims that NFP was in a coalition with SODELPA and further that Sitiveni Rabuka would abolish Diwali as a public holiday”.
“This was noted with concern by MOG. The sites were eventually mremoved but by then irreparable damage had been done.”
“Similarly, MOG also noted with concern the manner in which Ministers campaigned and discharged their duties by opening buildings and handing out grants because there is no caretaker provision in the Electoral Act”.
“MOG has recommended a code for Government and MPs but we seriously doubt that this will be done by this Government because apart from racial bigotry, handing out grants and walesi decoders and launching free Wi-Fi were other campaign tactics in gross abuse of taxpayers’ funds”.
“This report is similar to the last one in terms of key recommendations like changes to official election material that should include the ballot paper, to carry party identification, changes to the Political Party (Registration, Conduct, Funding & Disclosures) Act that was initially promulgated as a Decree in January 2013, and review of the Media Industry Development Authority Act, which was also promulgated as a Decree in 2010”.
“We will await and see whether this Report is referred to the parliamentary standing committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights during the next sitting of parliament from April 1st to 5th and whether the Committee prioritises its scrutiny of this report and submissions that will be made to enable it to report back to parliament quickly instead of putting the Report on the backburner”.
Professor Biman Prasad
Leader, National Federation Party