5 May 2006

EU official arrives in Fiji for elections

10:29 am on 5 May 2006

A former deputy foreign minister of Hungary has arrived in Fiji to head the European Union's 40-member observer team which will monitor the general elections beginning tomorrow.

"Istvan Szent-Ivanyi is now a member of the European Parliament (MEP) ."

Mr Szent-Ivanyi says it is crucial for the consolidation of democracy in Fiji that the general election is carried out in a credible manner.

He says the presence of the EU observers will contribute to this goal.

18 EU observers have been at work across Fiji since early April observing the electoral process, and talking to candidates, parties, officials and the people

From tomorrow they will monitor the polling throughout Fiji followed by close scrutiny of the vote counting from May the 15th.

The European Union Observer team will issue an interim report after the results are announced followed by a more comprehensive report with recommendations two months later.

A total of more than 100 observers from the EU, the Commonwealth, the Pacific Forum and the USP will be monitoring the elections.