UN electoral mission in Fiji reports no significant problems after weeklong vote

UN electoral mission in Fiji reports no significant problems after weeklong vote

Following Fiji's weeklong elections, the United Nations Electoral Mission there has reported that no significant problems have compromised the overall integrity of the voting process.

Deployed in support of Fiji's historic decision to return to democratic processes, the mission, known by the acronym UNFEOM, witnessed the national general elections from 25 August to 1 September.

The vote was conducted in a transparent manner, according to UNFEOM, which reported that the national electoral officials worked with dedication to conduct the vote under severe time and logistical constraints.

The UN observers - from 18 countries and all five continents - were deployed throughout the Fiji Islands in 20 teams of two people each.

UNFEOM teams visited approximately 95 per cent of the 818 polling stations that were opened throughout the week. Some stations were visited more than once. In the remote island groups, UN observers travelled day and night with Fiji's electoral officials. Throughout the country, the teams observed the transport of the ballot boxes to district offices and police stations.

The observers compiled data on the independence, impartiality and professionalism of the electoral authorities, on whether established voting procedures were being respected, on whether essential electoral material was available as needed, and information on the presence of polling agents. The mission also was in close contact with Fiji's electoral authorities, voters, candidates, and political party representatives.

UNFEOM is now consolidating its data in order to analyse trends at the national level. The information will be included in a forthcoming report to the General Assembly.

Fiji's Caretaker Government invited the UN to observe the voting process, the counting of the ballots and the immediate post-election environment following the announcement of the results. In response, the General Assembly created UNFEOM with the mandate to perform this three-fold task and report back to the international community later this year. As such, while the voting process has been concluded, UNFEOM is not yet at the halfway mark towards completing its work.