POLITICAL PARTY DECREE CURTAILS UNDUE INFLUENCE

Political parties will now be truly representatives of Fiji, with membership requirement from all the four divisions compulsory, says Attorney General and Minister for Justice Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The minister said that under the Political Party (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosure Declaration) Decree 2013, parties are required to have a membership of 5,000 with 2000 from the central, 1750 from western, 1000 from northern and 250 from the eastern division to ensure that all these divisions are represented.

The 5000 members is a reflection of the overall population composition and also symbolic for one per cent of the total number of registered voters.

?The parties will also be required to have party offices in all these divisions. We have observed other countries that even go to the extent of requiring political parties to have an office in all the constituencies,? he said.

The political party will need to abide by certain guidelines set out in the decree, which includes the Code of Conduct for Political Parties, once it is registered by five people who will be the applicants for registration.

The decree becomes effective from Friday, January 18, 2013 and the 16 existing political parties will need to register within 28 days from that date with a registration fee of $5005 which tallies as a dollar per member.

The Attorney-General said public officers will not be allowed to be either officials or the initial 5000 members of the political party.

?The public officers include members of statutory boards, from the public service including the police, prisons, Republic of Military Force, officials from trade union movements, judges/magistrates and so forth,? Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

The list, he said, will also include organisations such as employer?s federation who will not be eligible to become officials and/or members of the political parties but will require their resignation if they want to join a political party.

He also clarified that the President, Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers are not part of this list.

MINFO