Fiji electoral officers trained by EU
Sixty Fijian electoral officers are being trained in workshops by the EU to help the country prepare for its September elections.
Sixty Fijian electoral officers are being trained in workshops by the European Union to help prepare the country for its September elections.
The EU has appointed Democracy Reporting International and trainers from New Zealand to run three workshops as part of the its technical assistance and training support to the Fiji Government.
The EU's ambassador for the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs, spoke to Jamie Tahana about the training programme.
ANDREW JACOBS: We can't, with the support that we're providing, get out to every part of Fiji, so we're providing the trainers with the necessary expertise and information to train those who are going to be working in the polling stations.
JAMIE TAHANA: What exactly does that involve, after these workshops what will they be able to do?
AJ: They will be able to manage effectively the polling stations, they will be able to ensure that everybody gets a chance to vote, they'll be able to ensure that all of the procedures for voting are followed and they'll be able to answer questions from anyone who approaches them with regards to queries about the voting process and so on so really all the practicalities around running a polling station.
JT: But as you said you weren't able to reach everyone everywhere, so is this enough to cover what is a big election for Fiji?
AJ: Yeah we're confident it is. We can't with the international expertise that we're providing, visit all parts of the country but we're trying to make sure through the training programme that the Fijian trainers who are employed by the Fijian elections office are confident in training those who are going to be directly involved and after the end of the training course our trainers will continue to monitor how things are going so in other words they won't abandon those that they have trained. They will make sure that they're capable of continuing the job and they'll provide adhoc assistance should it be necessary.
JT: What was the response to the programme?
AJ: Oh very positive I think. We're working with the Fijian Electoral Office, they are in charge of the programme we're just providing the assistance and certainly I could see this morning that there was a great deal of enthusiasm and people are very much welcoming the challenge that they have and are extremely committed to making a good job of it.
JT: What else does the EU have planned in regards to the election, is this the extent of the assistance or is there plenty more to come?
AJ: Well we're concentrating on training those involved in the polling stations but we'll also support the printing of at least 14,000 training manuals. It's important that those working in the polling stations have access to a manual and also making sure that accommodation, transport for the national trainers is provided. So it's quite a comprehensive programme. It's working very closely with the Fijian elections office, it's working very closely with New Zealand so we're confident this should be an important input into the running of the election.
JT: We still are getting concerns from opposition political parties, NGOs, about the run up to the election, are you confident in how the process has gone, how it's been that these elections will be free and fair?
AJ: I think the process is well underway. We're confident that all the different ingredients are being put in place to ensure credible elections so yeah there's a challenge making sure everything is in place. There's only a couple of months to go now so there's a real commitment to get things done and make sure that the electoral process is really as good as it can be.
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