Fiji’s main opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka says he doesn’t have faith in the vote count underway from Wednesday’s general election, and will complain to the Fijian Elections Office (FEO).
Provisional counting was suspended late last night after the FEO reported a glitch in the election results app.
After the app went back online, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama’s Fiji First party had moved ahead of the main opposition party, The People’s Alliance.
Rabuka said the results published after the glitch did not line up with his own party’s assessment of the count.
“I believe everybody is probably taken by surprise at the turn of events last night,” Rabuka said in a press conference this morning.
“We actually were ahead … but when the systems came back on, there was a big change, not in our favour.”
He said he would petition the Fiji’s President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere over the matter.
The FEO advised of the issues with the provisional count around midnight last night.
Elections supervisor Mohammed Saneem held a press conference, 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,” Saneem said.
He said the glitch occurred during an upload of data to the mobile app, which caused a mismatch of some candidates’ identification numbers between the data processing system and the mobile app.
This led to some candidates displaying an unusually large number of votes in the app, he said.
At one point a little-known candidate, Peceli Vosanibola, appeared to have garnered 15,000 votes in the early count – more than the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama or his challenger Sitiveni Rabuka held at that time.
This morning the provisional count showed him with only 281 votes.
“What we had to do was we had to delete the data that had been published, and then we had to then re-upload the data on the app,” Saneem said.
Early this morning the Fijian Elections Office announced it would abandon the provisional count, with votes from about 60 percent of polling venues tallied, and move on to the final count.
Rabuka said he would challenge that decision, and said it was important to stick with the provisional count, which could be more closely monitored by observers from all political parties.
“We have no faith really in the recommencement of the count after the glitch,” he said.
The People’s Alliance claims photographs of results taken by party observers from polling venues across the country Wednesday, did not align with the results published by the FEO this morning.