10 Jul 2012

Call for Fiji's regime to extend voter registration deadline

4:43 am on 10 July 2012

A political sociologist says judging by the initial low registration numbers, Fiji's interim-regime needs to extend the deadline for people to register to vote.

The Fiji government has a target of registering about 660,000 voters within eight weeks under its new electronic voting system, roughly 80 thousand people a week.

However, it's reported that just over 18,000 people have registered to vote in the first six days since registration offices have been open.

Dr Steven Ratuva, from the Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland, says that's four times lower than the intended target.

"I think they should probably just keep it open until the end of the year because that's probably much more realistic at this point in time. Also Fiji is very scattered, there are so many islands, in terms of the logistics of travel, the whole logistics of people moving round from place to place, with all those taken into consideration, they should be able to achieve their target if they extend their timeline."

Dr Steven Ratuva says if they're able to register 80 to 90 percent of eligible voters, that would be a success.