Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Rabuka welcomes Appeal ruling on Electoral Commission


30 November 2016

Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) Party Leader, Major General (Retired) Sitiveni L Rabuka today welcomed the Court of Appeal judgment in favor of the Electoral Commission who sought validation of a directive made to the Supervisor of Elections in 2014. The Commission had ruled that Praveen Kumar Bala was not a fit candidate to contest the elections and that Fiji Labour Party candidate Steven Singh was eligible to contest the elections and so directed the Supervisor. The Supervisor of Elections disagreed with the Commission’s directive.

The Full Bench of the Court of Appeal ruled that the Supervisor of Elections must comply with all the decisions and directions given to him concerning the performance of his functions by the Electoral Commission. According to the judgement, in the interest of administrative efficacy and the smooth functioning of the electoral process the commission discharged its functions when it sent its letter dated August 22, 2014 to the Supervisor. Section 76 (3) of the Constitution and section 8 (a) of the Electoral Decree requires the Supervisor of Elections to comply with all the decisions and directions given to him concerning the performance of his functions by the Fijian Electoral Commission.

“I welcome the judgment of the full bench of the Court of Appeal in this matter. It clarifies the authority of the Commission and the position of the Supervisor vis-a-vis the Commission: that the Supervisor must comply with all decisions and directions given to him by the Commission. The judgment bodes well for the coming 2018 elections.”

“We are concerned that the Supervisor made submissions earlier this year to the Parliamentary Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights, that he be allowed by law not to follow directives of the Commission. This is an affront to our growing democracy, where a Constitutional Officer has requested the right to defy the body that is envisaged to set the policy and direction of his office. It begs the question then, if he is not responsible to the Electoral Commission, who is the Supervisor really responsible to and whose advice is he following? So the ruling from the Appeal Court is timely.”

“The Supervisor is also facing complaints about his impartiality and his behaviour towards journalists and members of the public, particularly on twitter, where he questioned the right of citizens to seek redress. Such behaviour and this recent ruling put in question his suitability for this high office.”

“I therefore call on the Electoral Commission to review his performance and make appropriate decision on his appointment.”

“The continuing situation where the Attorney General, Minister for Economy, Public Service, Public Enterprises and Tourism is also Minister for Elections, as well as being General Secretary of the ruling FijiFirst Party, is also untenable and must be reviewed by the Prime Minister given that the AG supervises the Solicitor General who gives legal advice to the Supervisor of Elections.

Authorised by:

Party Leader Major General (Retired) Sitiveni L Rabuka
Fiji Social Democratic Liberal Party
66 McGregor Road, Suva, Fiji

Tel: 3301544        Digi: 7179605