Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Militoni's views on Election Office

from w
In the Fiji Times there's a letter from Militoni Leweniqila, a former politician of extensive experience. He writes about the choice of a new Elections Supervisor - that the position should be for a local person who knows the geography etc. of Fiji. As readers of the Fiji newspapers now know, the New Zealand lawyer who was appointed was found to be wanting - and had been disbarred for a period of time from practicing, yet that fact had not been disclosed. I have printed one paragraph in bold that I think is important.

Supervisor of Elections

THERE has been a lot of discussion on the appointment of the Supervisor of Elections, leading up to the appointment of a highly qualified New Zealand lawyer which is presently being queried.

I have had some experience on general elections.

I am questioning the necessity to look overseas when we have hundreds of locals who qualify and can easily carry out the functions of the Supervisor of Elections. While the Constitution requires a legal qualification, the functioning of this office is more logistical than legal.

A suitable candidate would be a person with local administrative experience, has a fair knowledge of the geography, communication and transport system.

The cost of an election is dependent very much on how the Supervisor of Election handles his logistics. Experienced Returning Officers in the planning (budget) stages are essential.

They should have a fair idea of the transport and communications system to each and every polling station. A local appointment on the above basis can cut costs drastically.

Militoni Leweniqila

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