Fiji’s election has been thrown into confusion as a united opposition says it has evidence of fraud, contradicting international observers’ findings that the election result looked to be in line with what people wanted. Provisional results give Rear Adm. Voreqe Bainimarama’s party, Fiji First, a convincing lead with more than 60% of the vote, according to data released by the Fijian election authority early Thursday. The military strongman has ruled Fiji for eight years. The nearest opposition, the Social Democratic Liberal Party, known as Sodelpa, won just 27% of the vote, the election authority said. Final results aren’t expected for several days. Peter Reith, the Australian co-leader of the Multinational Observers Group, said that after talking to 92 observers from 15 countries, it had been concluded the elections were “on track to broadly represent the will of the Fijian voters.”
Leaders of the six opposition parties dispute this, saying in a joint news conference that their own observers had raised concerns about missing ballot boxes, boxes that seemed to have been opened, and more votes at polls than registered voters.
The election is being closely watched internationally, as it will return the island nation to democracy after the last elected government was overthrown by a military coup led by Rear Adm. Bainimarama in 2006. New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. all placed sanctions on the country, demanding the return to democracy before these were lifted. This opened the way for Fiji to align itself with China.
Full Article: Fiji Election Hit With Fraud Accusations – WSJ.