EDITORIAL: By Fred Wesley, editor-in-chief of The Fiji Times
It’s the big day today! We will get to know the make-up of our Parliament. The results saw FijiFirst leading the vote count — but failing to gain a majority (26 seats) — followed by the People’s Alliance (21), the National Federation Party (5) and the Social Democratic Liberal Party (3).
Pundits were predicting Sodelpa could become ‘kingmakers” in the event of a tight finish, and based on them getting past the threshold!
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem has not announced the total voter turnout, but he said yesterday this figure would be known today.
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The 353,247 figure he released on Election Day, he said, was from 1200 or so polling stations, not 1400. There can be no doubts about the interest now focused on the outcome.
It had been a fiery tussle leading up to the elections on December 14.
Campaigns inched out attacks that turned ugly at times, and some became personal. When it mattered, we were told of a low voter turnout. All that will now be cast aside as we await the final announcement.
Will there be an outright winner?
Or will there be a role for Sodelpa to play? Voters would be keenly following how the numbers add up.
The atmosphere has been supercharged, highly emotional, and driving through divisions as party followers cling onto hope.
There is great suspense and anxiety! It isn’t a pleasant scenario.
The Supervisor of Elections has been highly visible, answering questions raised by party supporters and the local and international media.
In the face of that sits the voter, each with emotional responses that are on a leash. There were questions raised by political parties following that glitch on the first night of counting.
Press conferences were called by the parties highlighting their views on the turn of events. Social media has also been rife with claims and counter claims.
In saying that, the race was tight! That sets the stage for the big announcement. For whatever it’s worth, the result will end speculation and may raise discussions on eventualities if things don’t end the way the leading party leaders want it to.
The guessing game is on! Rumours were rife in the Capital City, and emotions were quite intense in many quarters. But we wait with bated breath for the big reveal!
This editorial was published in The Sunday Times on 18 December 2022 and has been edited slightly in the light of developments. Republished with permission.