Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Fiji: The law means nothing

Later this year, if all goes well, Fiji will be holding its first elections in 8 years. Unfortunately, Fiji's dictator Voreqe Bainimarama wishes to stay in power, and has formed a political party to contest the elections. But there's a problem: Bainimarama's chosen name, "Fiji First", was already taken, and the law prohibits registering a party under the same name as an existing or wound up one. But this is Fiji, and the law clearly doesn't apply to the dictator, so the supervisor of elections registered it anyway:

The election authorities in Fiji are reported to have registered the regime's proposed political party, Fiji First.

This comes after a raft of objections for alleged breaches of the Political Party Decree that risked to have party members jailed and/or fined.

The approval, reported by Fiji media, comes just hours after the general secretary of the proposed party, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, invited Mr Saneem to reject the objections.

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum is also the Attorney-General, the supervisor of elections' boss. Which makes his "invitation" an abuse of power. But again, this is Fiji, and its par for the course under the dictatorship.

The objectors do have the option of appealing the decision to the courts. But they're no more independent than the supervisor of elections, and it is unlikely they will receive justice there either. Meanwhile, it appears that with a regime crony running them and ignoring the rules selectively in the dictator's favour, Fiji's elections are unlikely to be free or fair.