Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem delivers the first Polling Day update at 9am today from the National Results Centre in Suva. Picture: FEO
By GERALDINE PANAPASA, Wansolwara
The Fijian Elections Office and Fiji Police Force are focused on ensuring a secure and stable conducive environment for the successful conduct of elections, as Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem confirmed that all polling stations around the country were open and operational by 9am.
As 606,092 Fijians are expected to cast their ballots at 855 venues to elect a new Parliament for a four-year term, Mr Saneem urged voters to come out in numbers, make their vote count and exercise their right under the Constitution.
In his first Polling Day update at 9am from the National Results Centre in Suva, Mr Saneem said it was overwhelming to see the response and long queues of voters at various polling stations.
“Long lines early in the morning is an indication of how keen our voters are to come and vote. Reports are also coming in from other divisions with similar sentiments. This is a promising sign and we hope to have an incident free polling day today,” he said.
He said free public transportation was also provided, and voters needing this service could text their VoterCard number to 1500 for assistance travelling to their polling venue.
However, he clarified public transportation would be provided within designated localities.
“The 2022 General Election will be the platform for Fijians to exercise their will with confidence, security and freedom. As such, today is the day we want voters to cast their ballots in a conducive environment and very convenient manner,” Mr Saneem said.
Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho said there was increased police presence over the past 24 hours with about 1500 police officers assigned to assist the FEO.
He said the presence of police in the community was also important as the school holidays and festive season had kicked in.
“Be mindful of your personal security once you leave home and come out to vote, or while queueing up for election,” he said.
“We have invested in the use of technology. We know where our vehicles are specifically located at a particular time. CCTV cameras have also been installed in areas such as this (National Results Centre) for monitoring and security during the conduct of election.”
Meanwhile, the FEO has accredited 97 observers for this year’s election from 16 countries including two regional organisations. The observers are deployed to various parts of the country where they will be observing the electoral processes on polling day.