The Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Decree 2013 sets out a modern and transparent process for the registration and conduct of political parties.
The Decree has also – for the first time in Fiji – introduced accountability and transparency with respect to the funding and accounts of political parties.
Among the major provisions:
(a) The existing 16 parties must re-register within 28 days from January 18th, 2013 with the Registrar of Political Parties.
(b) No person may be an office holder who is an undischarged bankrupt or has been convicted of an offence carrying a jail sentence of six months or more in the past five years.
(c) An application to register must be signed by five party members and the party name must be in the English language. A party symbol is also required.
(d) The party must have 5000 members from all four divisions of Fiji – 2000 from the Central Division, 1750 members from the Western Division, 1,000 members from the Northern Division and 250 members from the Eastern Division.
(e) An application must be accompanied by a fee of $5,005 – one dollar for each member and the five original applicants.
(f) No public officer can be a party member or hold office. This includes public servants, member of statutory authorities, judges and other judicial officers, members of the Fiji Police Force and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF)
(g) No elected or appointed official of a trade union can be a party member or hold office.
(h) Any public officer who wants to be a member or office bearer of a political party must resign before doing so.
(i) Any registered political party must provide details of all assets and expenditure, including donations.
(j) All political parties must maintain offices in each division and district in Fiji and maintain records of its activities in each office.
(k) Political parties may only be funded only by membership fees and contributions from individuals and all sources of funding must be disclosed.
(l) No funding may come from foreign governments or non-government organisations.
(m) No funding can come from companies, nor can they provide services such as transport and accommodation, free or discount advertising or goods and services of any kind.
(n) All spending on election campaigns must be declared.
(o) Any political office bearer must make a declaration of income and assets on behalf of themselves, their spouse and any children. This includes total assets – including money and property – in Fiji and abroad – along with their business interests, directorships and gifts. Any liabilities must also be listed.
(p) Any election candidates must also make a declaration of income and assets in Fiji and abroad on behalf of themselves, their spouses and children and also list their liabilities. All these declarations will be published in the Government Gazette.
(q) Thirty days before the general election, each political party must list its assets and liabilities and submit it to the Registrar, who will publish the information.
(r) Any political party must keep proper books and these will be audited by a certified auditor and published in the Government Gazette.
Political parties are also subject to a Code of Conduct and must strictly adhere to its provisions. These include the requirement that every political party shall:
(a) respond to the interests, concerns and needs of the citizens of Fiji.
(b) Respect and uphold the democratic process as they compete for political power so as to implement their policies.
(c) Promote consensus building in policy decision-making on issues of national importance.
(d) Promote national patriotism and national unity; and
(e) Respect, uphold and promote democratic values and principles.
(f) Respect human rights, human dignity, equity, social justice and non discrimination.
(g) Respect, uphold and promote good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability.
(h) Not engage in violent, bribery and corruption or advocate racial or religious hatred, incitement or vilification.