Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) welcomes the 2014 Fijian Elections Final Report of the Multinational Observer Group (MOG), which was released yesterday. The comprehensive report highlights some of the vital and challenging experiences during the 2014 national elections and makes practical recommendations to improve future elections in Fiji.
An elections report based on research collected from voters’ perspective published by the Concerned Citizens for Credible Elections (CCCE) in January 2015, administratively led by the CCF, drew similar conclusion and made comparable recommendations to improving future elections. CCF strongly supports the recommendations in the MOG Report, that is, the need for the Fijian government to review all existing electoral laws and regulations governing elections prior to the 2018 elections to avoid confusion among stakeholders and increase confidence in the electoral processes.
As recommended in the MOG report, the CCF supports the revision of section 115 of the Electoral Decree 2014 to encourage civil society engagement in the elections process, including the removal of restrictions on foreign funded organisations allowing the government to further collaborate with the civil society to help support its civic education efforts.
As raised in the MOG report and the CCCE report, CCF shares the views that accredited domestic elections observers are vital in assuring a favourable environment for credible elections and is hopeful that the government will consider its inclusion for the 2018 elections. Domestic observer groups monitor pre-election processes and also field many more observers during the elections period enabling greater chances of detecting anomalies. Domestic observers are also equipped with local knowledge of geographic region, customs and practices, and are capable of observing elections.