24 Feb 2005

Fiji electoral commission won't speculate on ministerial visit to Gulf

7:18 am on 24 February 2005

The chairman of Fiji's Electoral Commission, Graham Leung, says he hopes a visit by the Labour minister to Iraq and Kuwait will be in line with Fiji's electoral laws.

The Labour Minister Kenneth Zinck and other officials are to visitIraq and Kuwait to meet representatives of the nearly 2,000 Fijians who work for security companies there.

But the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has complained to the electoral commission about the visit, which he says is aimed at registering voters and campaigning among the mostly indigenous Fijian security workers.

However, Graham Leung says the commission sees no reason for concern unless evidence emerges that the minister and others have transgressed the country's electoral laws.

"I think all parties would respond to this vigilance by the Electoral Commission with a degree of common sense. But we certainly would be concerned if evidence was presented of possible breaches of the country's electoral laws and we will cross that bridge when we need to. At the moment I think the commission has registered its views in the strongest possible terms and I would expect a large degree of common sense to now kick in."