2 Mar 2006

Fiji elections official says his office is committed to a fair, free and impartial election

8:35 pm on 2 March 2006

With just over two months to go until the country's general election, Fiji's deputy supervisor of elections, Semi Matalau, says his office is committed to ensuring the election is free, fair and impartial.

There will be 1,100 polling booths spread across the 320 islands, an increase on the seven hundred booths in the last election.

The election office has requested an extra four million US dollars because the voting process will take a week and not the three days as had been planned for.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has invited the University of the South Pacific's school of governance to monitor the elections as well as other outside observers.

Semi Matalau says his office is currently checking the provisional rolls before finalising the printing of the main rolls, and then preparing ballot papers.

Mr Matalau says they are working closely with all the political parties to ensure everything runs smoothly.

"Our field teams are vigilantly doing it's best to get everyone eligible in the roll as a voter. We have spoken with the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Mahendra Chaudhry and his team of MPs the last few days, and we had discussed the issue and they are all happy."

Mr Matalau says the election office will be meeting with all the political parties tomorrow.