Pacific Media Watch

3 September 2014

FIJI: Cane cutters walk long way to vote in post-coup election as pre-polls open

Hero image
Nukulau villagers in Nasau, Ra, were among the first voters in the country to cast their ballot in the Fiji general election this morning. Image: Baljeet Singh/Fiji Times

Serafina Silaitoga and Repeka Nasiko
SUVA (The Fiji Times / Pacific Media Watch): Cane cutters walked for many kilometres to the nearest polling station today to cast their votes as pre-polling opened for the Fiji general election – first since the military coup in 2006.

The Fiji Times reported labourers in the Dogoru, Savusavuitaqa and Nasealevu areas left their camps early early today for the polling station.

They braved the hot sun and walked kilometres because, according to cane cutter Laisenia Lagiloa, the occasion was a historic one for Fiji.

“After eight years and we go back to polling and it is something I will never miss.”

In Nasau, Ra, Nukulau villagers were among the first batch of voters in the country to cast their vote.

The first pre-polling station to open in Ra drew a crowd of 75 voters from Nukulau.

Former Nasau district representative Meli Tokalau said the villagers woke early to be in time for the 7.30am opening of the station.

‘Woke at 4am’
“We woke up at 4am to prepare ourselves for this, since it will close again in three hours,” he said.

“It’s a very good day for us and we are very happy to be part of this election.”

In an editorial entitled “First step towards pre-polling”, The Fiji Times chief editor Fred Wesley wrote that election officials were important for the process to be successful.

“As election officials, you are expected to demonstrate honesty, integrity and transparency in all your transactions,” the editorial said.

“The people of Fiji expect that of you. A nation will be banking on you to make sure the process is transparent, fair and credible. That is a huge responsibility.”

Source: The Fiji Times

Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence.

Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators. (cc) Creative Commons