‘Polls play a crucial role’

NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR) chairperson Nalini Singh. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

FIJIANS should be able to make a free decision when they cast their votes on November 14.

This was highlighted in a statement by the chairwoman of the NGO Coalition for Human Rights, Nalini Singh.

Ms Singh said elections played a crucial role in building a more stable parliamentary democracy.

“We need to draw lessons from the 2014 elections and have even greater transparency,” she said.

“This is our second election since the 2006 coup and since then, through elections, there has been progression towards the restoration of our democratic institutions and practice.”

She said the 2018 General Election would allow for peaceful and democratic political transitions.

“This is vital in building longevity for our fragile parliamentary democracy,” she said.

According to Ms Singh, this year’s election had already fostered greater political participation compared with 2014.

“In the 2014 elections there were 44 women candidates participating, however, this has increased to 56 women candidates,” she said.

“There has also been an increase in political parties since the 2014 elections with the registration of two new parties.” She added with this, there was greater confidence in our democracy.

“Furthermore, since the announcement of the 2018 elections, political debate and public dialogue has also increased and should be encouraged, but without personal attacks and maligning” she said.

Meanwhile, pre-polling began on Monday this week.