Outcome Statement From The People’s Constitutional Forum

 

Outcomes of the People’s Constitutional Forum
The People’s Constitutional Forum, made up of a diverse group of 45 leaders and thinkers from
around Fiji, met in Lami from 20 – 22 March, 2013. The People’s Forum was an open space for
discussion, debate and negotiation on constitutional content. We come from Fiji’s churches and
religious groups, proposed political parties, trade unions, rural networks, universities, women’s
groups, human rights organizations, youth groups, LGBTQI groups, networks of persons with
disability, the private sector, and people living with HIV. Members of the public also participated
in our discussions through an open gallery and by interacting with the online live streaming of
our discussions and debates.
We examined the 2012 Commission’s draft Constitution, previous Fiji Constitutions and had a
brief overview of the proposed State draft of 2013. We agreed on many points, but also
respected the diverse opinions of this People’s Forum. These are the outcomes of our
discussions:
Electoral Systems
There was consensus that:
? The electoral system, and the community as a whole, should actively encourage and
support women’s representation in parliament. There was a strong view that this should
be achieved by constitutional provisions implementing a closed, “zipped” list
proportional representation (PR) system.
? There must be comprehensive civic education conducted throughout Fiji to ensure that
all constituents understand how the electoral system works.
An overwhelming number of participants:
? Preferred a closed list PR system, because it forced constituents to focus on the policies
of a party, rather than the personality of an individual candidate.

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