SUVA, Fiji (AFP) – Fiji authorities have rejected claims of a corrupt election as the Fiji First Party of coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama closed in on a landslide victory Saturday.
With nearly two-thirds of the votes confirmed following the Pacific nation’s first democratic vote in eight years, Fiji First had 57.6 per cent of the vote, well clear of the Social Democratic Liberal Party trailing on 29.6 per cent.
However, the final result from last Wednesday’s ballot was not expected until Sunday or Monday.
Five parties complained to electoral officials about voting irregularities including broken seals on ballot boxes and names added manually to the voter register.
Electoral Commission chairman Chen Bunn Young said that while “serious allegations” would be investigated his staff were satisfied the election was property conducted.
“The Electoral Commission has made their own observations from pre-polling to polling right throughout the divisions … and we were satisfied with ourselves that the elections were carried out in a free and fair manner,” he said.
A Multinational Observer Group has declared the election “credible” and representing the will of Fijians.
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, said in a statement Saturday the election was a “welcome turning point” for Fiji.
“The people of Fiji are to be congratulated for participating peacefully in large numbers in a democratic process to express their views clearly on their choice of leaders and representatives,” he said.