POLITICAL leaders yesterday reached a consensus that they would need to work within the law during the 2018 General Election after raising their concerns on the capability of the Electoral Commission and the Supervisor of Elections in carrying out a free, fair and credible election.
A panel discussion was held by the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), National Federation Party, Fiji Labour Party, Unity Fiji and the Freedom Alliance Party at the Wesley City Mission church hall in Suva yesterday.
SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka said they would contest the election according to the rules.
“We don’t have full confidence in the SOE nor the commission, but they are the ones running the show, running the game, refereeing it and we will just have to play according to their rules,” Mr Rabuka said.
NFP vice-president Seni Nabou said they would contest the election with the laws in place.
“The point of this exercise is just to tell the voters that this is the state of play as of now, but we are not undeterred, we’re still focused and we’re going to give it 200 per cent,” Ms Nabou said.
Unity Fiji’s party secretary Satish Kumar said they had echoed their shortfalls to relevant authorities within an adequate time frame.
“All these issues inclusive of the issues raised in the Multi-National Observer Group report have fallen on deaf ears,” Mr Kumar said.
Aminiasi Navuso, the deputy general secretary of the Freedom Alliance Party, said the law was made for everyone to follow and no one was above the law.
In response, Electoral Commission chairman Suresh Chandra said political parties were raising the same concerns they raised in 2014 that too many changes were made close to election.
“This time when we are trying to be consistent, they are crying that we should do last-minute changes. Political parties continue to show how a parliamentary system works. By now I think this is deliberate,” Mr Chandra said.
“Laws and changes to the laws are made by the Parliament. Parties should go to Parliament.
“Two of those parties have members in Parliament. They should seek accountability from them first.”