Thursday, December 15, 2022

Fiji's election "anomaly"

Fijians went to the polls yesterday in the third post (latest) coup election. In the leadup to the poll, the (now elected) coup regime arrested opposition candidates and there were allegations that regime Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had visisted the ballot-printing centre and ordered the CCTV cameras turned off while he was there. Last night, the release of initial results was delayed. And then this happened:

Initial results indicated a strong, then very strong showing for opposition parties, before the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) advised of issues with the provisional count at around midnight last night.

Elections supervisor Mohammad Saneem held a press conference late in the evening, saying the FEO had detected an anomaly in the system.

"To cure this, Fijian Elections Office had to review the entire mechanism through which we were pushing our results," Mr Saneem said.


The updated provisional results published early this morning, with about 60 per cent of polling venues counted, showed a surge in votes for the incumbent ruling party.

Fiji First, led by incumbent Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, was narrowly ahead with 45 per cent of votes when the FEO announced it would stop processing provisional results this morning.

All of which invites the suspicion that the "anomaly" was that the wrong people were winning, and that the regime chose the Mexican solution: a "computer problem" followed by new results. And the opposition is already planning to challenge the results on exactly that basis (whether they'll get justice in regime courts with regime judges is another question).

There are international observers present, so it will be very interesting to see what they have to say about this "anomaly", and about whether the poll was free and fair and the results honest.