Nawaikula loses MP seat, misses out on Fiji 2022 Election race

Lawyer and SODELPA’s Niko Nawaikula’s parliamentary seat has been vacated following his recent conviction for offences the maximum penalties for which effectively disqualifies him from contesting Fiji’s forthcoming 2022 General Elections.

In a statement in the Fijian Parliament today, Speaker of the House Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said Nawaikula’s seat became vacant effective last Tuesday, 3 May on the date of his conviction as per section 63(1)(d) of the Constitution.

Nawaikula was convicted with one count of tendering false information to a public servant under section 201(a) of the Crimes Act 2009 and one count of obtaining financial advantage under section 326(1) of the Crimes Act 2009, which carry maximum penalties of a term of imprisonment between five and 10 years, contrary to section 56(2) (g) thus nullifying his candidacy to contest the 2022 election.

Under section 56(2) (g) of the 2013 Constitution, a person cannot stand for an election to parliament if “at any time during the 8 years immediately before being nominated, been convicted of any offence under any law for which the maximum penalty is a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more.”

“Section 63(1)(d) of the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji (‘Constitution’) expressly provides that “the seat of a member of Parliament becomes vacant if the member … ceases to have the right to be nominated as a candidate for election to Parliament under section 56” of the Constitution,” Ratu Epeli said.

Nawaikula was notified of the ruling in writing on Friday, 6 May.

Dr Mere Samisoni is in line to replace Nawaikula as the highest-ranked out of the party candidates who are not MPs.

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