11 Oct 2002

Fiji Labour Party alleges vote rigging in Suva

11:13 am on 11 October 2002

The Fiji Labour Party is alleging vote rigging as the country's 12 cities and towns prepare to go to polls tomorrow to elect new councillors.

The Daily Post says the allegation has been made by a senior Labour Party member and deposed minister, Lavenia Padarath, against the Suva City Council.

Mrs Padarath says when she called at the Suva City Council offices on Wednesday, she witnessed that ballot papers were being printed on a photocopier with the word SPECIMEN removed.

She says she called some hours later to ask for sample ballot papers from the same office and was told that the town clerk, Ratu Ilotomasi Verenakadavu, had instructed them to stop further work.

But Ratu Ilotomasi has denied this, saying the printing of ballot papers was for educational purposes only.

All ballot papers in Fiji are printed by the Elections Office which is also responsible for general elections.

Voting for the 12 new municipal councils will begin tomorrow morning and all results are expected to be known during the weekend.