Friday, 18 April 2008 2:04 AM

Fiji Appoints New Zealander as Elections Supervisor

Fiji has finally appointed a new Elections Supervisor to help take the country towards democracy.

The new Elections Supervisor is Dr. Maurice Coughlan, a New Zealand-based lawyer.

According to Radio New Zealand International, Dr. Coughlan 'says a key challenge will be bringing people together through improved communication' and that 'he will be trying to win the hearts and minds of those who have the welfare of the country at heart'.

Since the military coup in December last year, the interim regime in Fiji has been under constant pressure from its global and regional neighbors to hold national elections as soon possible.
The country has been searching for a new Elections Supervisor since the removal the previous Supervisor as part of the interim regime's clean-up campaign with alleged discrepancies in the 2006 elections.

The Citizens Constitutional Forum has welcomed the appointment with the Fiji Times Online reporting that CCF 'said it reiterated its earlier position that considering the difficulties that were faced by Fiji's Constitutional Offices Commission in attracting suitable local applicants, the position of Supervisor of Elections should be recruited from abroad'. Reasons were that the person would be more likely to be 'with no political or other affiliations in Fiji, and whom no group has any reason to mistrust; who might be able to bring with him or her a small international team of technical assistants or advisors; and who can deliver an election that no political party or other group in the country could later credibly impeach'.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province