Fiji’s Electoral Commission chairman Chen Bunn Young said the ballot paper numbering was selected at random and denies it has any other implication aside from starting with a three-digit number to avoid any confusion for voters. His comments follow statements reported to have been made by former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase who suggested it had religious implications leaning towards the Quran. “There was no thought put behind it as to what it would resemble or if it has any religious implication or connotation like it has been suggested. “We did not use no.1 because of the fact that number gives a false impression to voters that the person is the number one candidate. It was chosen at random for that reason and the reason that it was a three-digit number,” Young said. He further said in instances where a report or a complaint is made to the commission, they would have to verify it first to ascertain facts.
If proven true, they would then refer the matter to Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) for investigation.
The FijiFirst party in a statement described Qarase’s comments as desperate and inciting violence.
Meanwhile, Political parties and independent persons, looking to contest the forthcoming election, are urged to submit their nominations to the Fijian Elections Office early.
Electoral Commission chairman Chen Bunn Young said doing so would prevent a bottleneck situation.