Fiji Poll underway today
Fijians get ready to vote for the first time in more than eight years.
It is an historic day in Fiji with the country going to the polls for the first election in more than eight years.
For many thousands it will be their first ever election.
Sally Round is in Fiji for the vote and Don Wiseman asked her about the mood of the people going into the poll.
SALLY ROUND: Well out here in the West, I took the opportunity to head out down to the town of Nadi and try and get a cross section of feeling out there on the streets, and people are looking forward to this election, I'd have to say, being able to have their say after eight years seems to be an overwhelming feeling but also I noted a certain amount of fear, anxiety about the upcoming polls and sort of the unknown, what's going to happen afterwards, one woman told me she had taken the precaution of moving out of town, just in case of any unrest, and I was sitting chatting with hopkeeper and as we were talking, people were coming up buying, and he said, look those people are buying more than they normally would, a months supply of certain things instead of a day because they really don't know what to expect. But many of the Indo-Fijians I spoke to said they feel quite comfortable and assured because the regime has made assurances about military and police taking a strong line in case of any unrest, whatever the result.
DON WISEMAN: Now, there has been this very unusual situation of 48 hour blackout ahead of the poll. How has this impacted. What have people had to say.
SR: Well people seem quite happy to talk me as I explained to them, look I am allowed as accredited journalist to cover the elections to talk about the process of elections but we can't touch on anything political, talk about the political parties or their policies, and people are quite happy to talk to me about their feelings about how some were talking about it being a festive day and getting their family out and making the most of with food, kava and music. But no the black out as far as I can see, all campaign materials seem to have been taken down in the West at least, and yep, the black out doesn't seem to have affected people talking about the elections.
DW: It's a very unusual poll in some sense, there's this single electorate and a single ballot paper or affectively with a lot of numbers on it. Is it, in terms of preparation for this process, just how well prepared is everyone.
SR: Well there is certainly still a lot of information going out on the TV, on the media about how to vote and so on, and even how the results are going to be calculated which does come across as very complicated, I have to add. When I was watching it last night, I went up to Lautoka and had a look at preparations at one of the high schools there which is going to be housing six polling stations, it's going to be one of the largest polling stations in the West, and watched as presiding officers were given their various equipment and so on and going throgh final details for the day. And some officers I spoke to said she found who press process kind of challenging and she still had some question marks over how things were going for instances the transmission of the final count, she still had a question mark in her mind, but it seems that they process of preparation seems to be well underway, it seems to be in hand, observers are arriving here in Nadi, and will be fanning out to those polling stations opening at 7.30am and I've heard of people who are going to be getting up early so they can be first to vote and others of course told me that they actually won't bother voting at all and they can't see the point after four coups.
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