The members of the Electoral Commission that will supervise the 2014 general election have been announced.
The Commission is made up of seven prominent citizens from various walks of life headed by its Chair, leading legal practitioner Chen Bunn Young, who’s a former President of the Fiji Law Society.
The other members are academic Professor Vijay Naidu of USP, the tourism industry leader and marketing expert, James Sowane, accountant and financial advisor Jenny Seeto, the filmmaker and media specialist, Larry Thomas, electoral expert and priest, Father David Arms, and the educationalist and civil society leader, Alisi Daurewa.
The Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said each member of the Commission brings a unique perspective and set of skills to the task of supervising the first genuine democratic election in Fiji’s history.
“All of these outstanding individuals are credible, apolitical and together, will bring integrity to the Commission’s work. They will also make their individual contributions, whether it’s high- level legal expertise in the case of Chen Bunn Young, marketing expertise in the case of James Sowane, financial expertise in the case of Jenny Seeto, existing electoral expertise in the case of Father Arms, communications expertise in the case of Larry Thomas and the broad educational a social expertise of Professor Naidu and Alisi Daurewa”.
“I want to thank them all for accepting their roles on the Commission, which is a vital component of the Bainimarama Government’s plan to hold a free and fair election to the very highest international standards”, he said.
Under the terms of the 2013 Constitution, the Electoral Commission is responsible for the registration of voters and the conduct of free and fair elections.
It is also responsible for voter education, the registration of candidates for election, the settlement of electoral disputes and monitoring and enforcing compliance with any written law governing elections and political parties.
Under the Constitution, the Chair of the Commission needs to either be a judge or a legal practitioner who is able to become a judge, a provision fulfilled by Chen Bunn Young, a senior Lautoka- based solicitor and barrister.
In a related development, the Elections Office has announced that it will soon be seeking applications for 34 key posts in the Office. Within those categories are a total of 230 positions. They include the Deputy Supervisor of Elections, the Director of Electoral Procedures, the Director of Corporate Services and the Director of Communications.
Another 160 staff will be recruited in a second phase later in the year and an additional 14,000 throughout Fiji for the day of the election itself.