The Co-Chairs of the Multinational Observer Group (MOG):
Hon Rebekha Sharkie MP, Parliament of Australia,
Mr Dharmendra Sharma, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner of India, and
HE Ambassador Muhsin Syihab, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia,
today issued the attached Pre-Election Day Statement on behalf of the MOG on the preparations for Election Day on 14 December 2022 and the conduct of pre-polling over 5-9 December observed by the MOG.
Pre-Election Day Statement
Since the issuance of the Writ for the 2022 General Election on 31 October, the Multinational Observer Group (MOG) has observed all key electoral steps to date and evaluated the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) functions, operations and preparations ahead of Pre-Polling week and Election Day on 14 December.
In summary, the MOG has observed the FEO to be a professional organisation that is well-prepared to deliver a successful General Election in 2022. The MOG notes the Supervisor of Elections’ advice that all Fijians who are registered to vote and arrive at their designated polling venue will be able to vote on election day, with or without their updated voter card.
The MOG was provided with full access to observe all steps in the electoral process, including the voter registration process, establishment of National Register of Voters, polling staff training, voter awareness and education, candidate nomination (including appeals and objections), candidate draw, printing and storage of ballots, and pre-poll voting.
The MOG also met with a vast array of stakeholders, such as political parties, civil society, religious groups and all relevant Fijian government institutions. This has included visits and meetings in remote areas of the country across all four divisions.
The MOG assesses that the FEO has continued to improve its processes since the 2018 general election, including having implemented a number of key recommendations from the 2018 MOG report. For example, significant efforts have been made to engage directly with communities regarding voting procedures and to increase the public presence of the FEO as a technically proficient organisation. The MOG welcomes the FEO’s recent partnerships to increase voter awareness and information, including among younger voters in remote areas and women. The MOG notes the FEO has also made use of technological aids, such as barcode scanning, to ensure greater security and efficiency in the packing and storing of ballot papers, as well as the ability for voters to text a hotline to confirm their polling station.
The MOG has not observed any irregularities in the electoral steps observed to date or significant issues that would prevent registered voters from casting their ballot during pre polling through postal voting or on Election Day on 14 December. No significant irregularities were observed at the 115 pre-polling venues visited by MOG observers from 5 to 9 December.
But our work does not stop here. The MOG will deploy over 90 observers from 16 countries and two regional organisations (Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and Melanesian Spearhead Group) to observe election day polling. MOG observers will visit every one of the four of Fiji’s electoral districts. The MOG will also observe the counting and tallying of the ballots.
Soon after election day, the MOG will release an interim statement outlining our initial observations. A final report will be completed as soon as practical after election day, which will include more detailed observations from stakeholders engaged, an assessment of the electoral processes observed and any recommendations as appropriate.
The MOG strongly encourages all registered Fijian voters to make their voice heard and come out and vote on 14 December.