25 May 2006

Academic calls for government review of Fiji electoral system

2:08 pm on 25 May 2006

A senior academic at the University of the South Pacific says the conditions are right for the Fiji government to review the electoral system.

Jon Fraenkel of the USP's Governance Institute says he would like to see a proportional representation based electoral system which he says would generate multiple parties in parliament as well as encourage governments to build coalitions.

Mr Fraenkel says the high percentage of spoilt ballot papers - 10 percent in 1999, 12 percent in 2001 and 9 percent this year - is evidence that the alternative vote system currently in use is overly complicated and now would be a time to review the system.

"If you force through an electoral system change when only one side agrees to it, that lacks legitimacy and is unlikely to prove effective. But now we have a cabinet with representatives from two major political parties, I think they will have to iron out many aspects of the constitution that weren't thought through in sufficient detail back in 1987 and I think that a review of the electoral process will be a useful addition to that review process."

Jon Fraenkel of the USP's Governance Institute