24 Feb 2005

No election official to accompany Fiji ministerial visit to Gulf

9:41 am on 24 February 2005

Fiji's Electoral Commission has ordered that no election official should accompany the labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, on his forthcoming visit to Iraq and Kuwait.

The official was to have registered voters for next year's general election among the nearly 2,000 Fijians employed as security guards and in other jobs in the two countries.

Mr Zinck had said he was going to carry out a risk assessment of jobs there whilst the official, registered voters.

But Radio Fiji reports that the Electoral Commission has directed the Elections Office not to send an official.

The acting supervisor of elections, Epeli Rabuka, says according to the Electoral Commission, this wasn't the proper way to register voters.

Epeli Rabuka says the Electoral Act is quite clear on how voters are to be registered and who is to register them.

The Labour Party had earlier raised its concerns about the proposed visit, saying there could be interference in the electoral process if an election official was to accompany a government delegation.