17 Feb 2017

NFP counters Fiji Attorney General's claims

2:17 pm on 17 February 2017

Fiji's opposition National Federation Party has accused the Attorney General and Minister for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, of misinforming the people about his role.

The leader of Fiji's National Federation Party, Biman Prasad.

The leader of Fiji's National Federation Party, Biman Prasad. Photo: RNZI/Alex Perrottet

This comes after the minister restated that a previous prime minister was also elections minister.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also said the National Federation Party's Biman Prasad and Sodelpa's Semesa Karavaki tried to twist facts during the debate on amendments to the Electoral Act.

But in a statement, the NFP hit back, saying there has never been anything like Mr Sayed-Khaiyum in any previous government, as the post of Minister of Elections never existed in the past.

It said he could not run away from the fact that he is the Minister for Elections, and the general secretary and registered officer for the governing Fiji First Party.

The NFP said this was unprecedented, describing his claims that previous prime ministers were election ministers a sign of baseless desperation.

Dr Prasad said it was up to the Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, to ensure there was no perception of conflict of interest between the government and the Electoral Commission.

"The Electoral Commission must be allowed to work independently, as observed by the Appeals Court in their judgement on the last case that the Elections Commission took to the court and remove any perception of a conflict of interest between the Minister of Elections as it is now and the Elections Commission and the Supervisor of Elections," he said.

Dr Prasad said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum should stand down from this portfolio.