Delay in glitch investigation raises concerns

ECF Chair, Barbara Malimali (top centre), members of the ECF and Acting Supervior of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa (top left) in a meeting today.

The Electoral Commission of Fiji (ECF) is concerned over the prolonged delay in investigating the “glitch” that occurred during the vote counting process in the 2022 General Elections.

In a statement this week, the ECF said it has discussed the potential consequences of the continued delay, particularly as Fiji enters the second year of its election cycle, with Local Government Elections on the horizon.

ECF Chair, Barbara Malimali, noted: “We understand that the Government has its processes to follow.

“However, it is now nearly a year since the FEO took this matter up with them, and the public deserve answers.”

In 2023, many non-government stakeholders and members of the parliament raised concerns in relation to the “glitch” and the impact on the interaction between the public and electoral authorities.

Malimali also highlighted the financial strain caused by the delay, noting that the ongoing investigation is resulting in unnecessary rental costs for storing the ballot boxes.

And she raised concerns about the impact on the upcoming municipal elections, stating: “It will leave the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) with insufficient time to undertake registration for the municipal elections which the government wishes to hold in a few months.”

She says this delay will in turn affect political parties’ campaign schedules and limit outreach efforts to encourage more women to participate as candidates.

“The continued delay in undertaking an independent audit is not helping us to rebuild that trust with our main stakeholders, the people of Fiji,” Malimali reiterated, emphasising the ECF’s key goal of rebuilding public trust and confidence in the electoral system.

Read more statements on the 2022 General Elections