Fiji Elections: Plan in place should adverse weather disrupt polls

As Fiji enters the 2022/2023 tropical cyclone season today, Fiji’s Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem says they have an alternative plan should adverse weather disrupt polling.

Fiji Met projects that two to three cyclones are likely to affect Fiji in the November 2022-April 2023 TC window, with two, at the most, expected to be severe, reaching category three or higher. The Fiji weather office also predicts more rain than usual in the window.

Mr Saneem said they have an alternative plan, but in the meantime encourages people to prepare for the election as per the set timeline.

“Right now we just want people to prepare for the election, prepare for it to happen on the date that it has been assigned,” Mr Saneem said.

“If there is anything else that needs to be done, we shall do it and we will make the nescessary adjustments. It is just 14 December, that is the date, mark the date.”

In 2018, the Fiji Weather Office projected one to two tropical cyclone to affect Fiji with one forecasted to reach category three or higher during the cyclone period. No such system was experienced in Fiji when it went to the polls on 14 November that year. However, accessibility issues due to adverse weather which was experienced in Fiji on election day prompted the postponement of voting in 22 polling venues to 17 November. Those who had voted on 14 November had to re-vote for their votes to be counted, totalling 4,853.

As it stands the FEO expects to operate 855 polling venues on 14 December and 613 during pre-poll, as opposed 854 polling venues that were used on election day in 2018.

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