14 Apr 2015

Fiji election observers call for decree review

2:18 pm on 14 April 2015

The international group which observed Fiji's general election last year has recommended Fiji revise some of its laws including a controversial decree restricting public gatherings.

It's among a raft of recommendations included in the group's final report.

The Multinational Observer Group says the Public Order Amendment Decree restricted the ability of political parties to organise public gatherings in the lead-up to the election and it recommended changing the requirement for groups to get a permit for gatherings.

Fiji international election observers Peter Reith from Australia and Amb Wahid Supriyadi of Indonesia.

Fiji international election observers Peter Reith from Australia and Amb Wahid Supriyadi of Indonesia. Photo: RNZ / Philippa Tolley

But the group found the conditions were in place for voters to exercise their right to vote freely, despite compressed timeframes, a complex voting system and some restrictions in the electoral environment.

The group also wanted restrictions on foreign-funded civil society groups removed, more timely changes to electoral laws and allowing trade union officials to be political party members.

The observers suggested simplifying the counting process, but they say they did not see any significant irregularities in the count or the process.

That's despite some parties concerns there had been a systematic and co-ordinated effort to alter the ballot.

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