FijiFirst could still have two members short during the 2023-24 National Budget debate in Parliament next week as the Constitutional Office Commission (COC) is still yet to appoint all members of the Electoral Commission.
Though Prime Minister and Commission chair Sitiveni Rabuka announced the appointment of two members today following their meeting, the Electoral Commission may still not have the quorum of four members it needs to announce the appointment of new Members of Parliament.
Speaking to the media earlier, Rabuka said that Suva lawyer Barbara Malimali has been appointed the temporary Chairperson to the Electoral Commission and realtor and former FijiFirst candidate Reginald Jokhan has been named one of the Commissioners.
Malimali and Jokhan join Ateca Ledua who is the only surviving member of the previous set up.
When questioned by FijiLive about the Commission not having the needed quorum, Rabuka said they still have time and names can be confirmed in the weekend.
Rabuka said when the appointments are made, there will be six appointees – the Chairperson and six Commissioners.
He also blamed former Leader of Opposition Voreqe Bainimarama for his abrupt behaviour in Parliament earlier, as well as the suspension of the FijiFirst Party, the non-participatory of FijiFirst in the COC and the ignorance of the current Leader of the Opposition which delayed the meeting of COC and preveneted it from making the necessary recommendations to the Office of the President.
When told that that despite the reasons he gave, the Constitutional Offices Commission had the quorum and the Opposition side nominee Tupou Draunidalo to meet and make recommendations, Rabuka said they intended to go to Court to get an explanation on this.
Meanwhile, Opposition Inia Seruiratu claims that since his appointment, he has not received any invitation to COC meetings.
He said the only form of communication on COC was a copied email from the Acting Supervisor of Elections Ana Mataiciwa on official matters concerning the COC.
He said, other than that, nothing was received from the Secretariat.
However Rabuka stated that the Leader of the Opposition has in fact been receiving decisions made by the Commission.
“I ask whether that was correct or not,” Rabuka added.