Human Rights NGO, Justice Pacific says the failure of the Government to convene the Constitutional Offices Commission (COC) and appoint a full quorum of the Electoral Commission is a clear violation of democratic principles and undermines the integrity of the Parliamentary system.
In a statement, the NGO said: “Every Fijian has the constitutional right to freely vote under an electoral system that treats all votes equally. No matter who we are, where we come from in Fiji, or what faith we follow, whether we are young or old, man or woman, we are all guaranteed equal votes of equal value.”
“To then have gone through multiple Parliamentary sessions and even through the budget announcements without a full opposition is undemocratic and unconstitutional.”
“Thousands of voters have been deprived of having their elected representatives represent their views in Parliament.”
“Vacant seats, particularly those belonging to the opposition, contribute to an imbalanced distribution of power and hinder the ability of the Parliament to serve as a forum for robust debate, accountability, and effective governance.”
The NGO further stated that any debate on our critical national budget and indeed Parliament voting on it needs to occur with the opposition at full strength, or the entire process becomes undemocratic and calls on those in power to rectify this situation and restore democracy immediately.