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Sally Round (RNZ Pacific), Suva, Fiji
Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama’s Fiji First Party is holding just over half of the votes at the end of provisional vote counting in the Fiji election, polling for which was held on November 14, 2018.
Its closest rival Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), led by Sitiveni Rabuka, received 38% of the votes.
The National Federation Party (NFP) had 7.5% and was the only other Party to have passed the 5% threshold to gain seats at press time.
Rains affect polling
Voter turnout ranged from 53% to 61% in Fiji’s four divisions, according to the Fijian Elections Office. Heavy rain and flooding on polling day forced the closure of 26 stations, affecting 7800 people. A date has yet to be set for them to vote and a campaign blackout with accompanying media restrictions has been extended.
Final vote counting begun after 70% of polling stations had phoned their results overnight. Official result sheets are being brought in from all over Fiji to the National Results Centre for tallying with the votes which were cast last week in Fiji’s remote areas as well as those posted.
688 v 668
A FijiFirst candidate with a candidate number similar to Party Leader Bainimarama was a surprising addition to the list of top ten most popular candidates, the Fiji Sun reported.
The 668 Candidate, Alipate Nagata, was sixth in the popularity stakes at the last count ahead of SODELPA’s Ro Teimumu Kepa and FijiFirst’s Parveen Bala.
Mr Bainimarama, whose candidate number is 688 was the highest polling candidate by far with 38% of the vote; Mr Rabuka had 17% of the vote and NFP Leader Dr Biman Prasad 3%.
Highest polling female candidate
SODELPA’s Lynda Tabuya was the highest polling female candidate, according to the last provisional results. The lawyer, who is contesting for the first time, had the fifth highest number of votes, ahead of former SODELPA leader Ro Teimumu Kepa.
No other woman was in the top ten at the close of provisional vote counting.
Fiji has an open list proportional representation system where seats are apportioned according to how many votes a Party gets. Voters have a say on which Party candidates get in unlike the closed list system where parties decide.
Sally Round is Pacific Journalist at Radio New Zealand. Indian Newslink has published the above Report and Picture under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz
Fiji First Party Leader Frank Bainimarama casting his vote along with his wife Maria in Suva On November 14, 2018. Photo for RNZ Pacific by Koroi Hawkins