"Furthermore his (Khaiyum's) continuation of writing the election rules and being the general secretary of a political party contesting the elections is wholly unfair and a direct conflict of interest. PDP calls on him once again to do the right thing and step down as Minister of Elections. Furthermore, the Fiji First leader and AG need to be transparent and accountable to the people of Fiji by producing the Auditor General's report."
“PDP is committed to upholding the law", stated Lynda Tabuya, president of the People’s Democratic Party. Ms Tabuya was responding to the Attorney General's statement regarding PDP's interpretation of the latest amendment to the Political Parties Decree. Firstly, PDP is happy to provide the declarations and will do so in due course. However, we would like to point out that the wording of the amendment refers to 'appointed' persons. The PDP leader Felix Anthony, myself as president and general secretary Aman-Ravindra Singh were not appointed by any committee or person but were elected by the general members. That means we went through the democratic process of calling for nominations, and having elections where our general membership voted for our leaders. This took place on Saturday, 3rd May at our National Convention. Never in the history of politics in Fiji has this taken place and PDP is proud to have exercised true democracy within our party. As a lawyer himself we are hopeful that the AG would understand the difference between elected and appointed leaders, and therefore suggest that he may like to make a further amendment to his amendment to remove all ambiguity, or better still consult with political parties and their legal advisors before making amendments.
Secondly PDP would like to respond to the criticism from the AG pertaining to the constitutional knowledge of and advice provided to our leader. The wording of the recent amendment aside, PDP and other political parties (excluding Fiji First) are operating under the most challenging of conditions. The decree is a constantly moving target that is evolving on a weekly basis with all the amendments, and an absolute interpretive nightmare. To criticise PDP's legal knowledge is unfair at best and absurd. Furthermore, when the amendments are released, they are not made available directly to the public and political parties and parties get to know of the existence of the amendments through the media. PDP further states that the introduction of new decrees and constant amendments has created an incredibly uneven playing field. It is akin to a game of rugby commencing within one set of rules and then having someone from the home team run on the field at halftime with new rules because the game is not going the way they wanted. PDP and other parties are operating in a very challenging environment in which the goal posts are continually being shifted and more rules added. If the AG values transparency and a fair election then all rules should have been stated once and let the process run its course.
Furthermore his continuation of writing the election rules and being the general secretary of a political party contesting the elections is wholly unfair and a direct conflict of interest. PDP calls on him once again to do the right thing and step down as Minister of Elections. Furthermore, the Fiji First leader and AG need to be transparent and accountable to the people of Fiji by producing the auditor general's report. PDP is committed to contesting the September elections and we recognise that this is essential in the history of our country. However, we feel strongly compelled to highlight the inequity of the current political environment. However, PDP reiterates the more important issues to be what every voter should be thinking of, and that is reclaiming our human rights, workers' rights and indigenous rights which the Fiji First leader and the AG continue to restrict through their decrees, the failure of the Fiji First leader and AG to address the unacceptable rate of unemployment, the alarming number of our people living below the poverty line, the appalling state of our health services, the increasing number of people and communities being displaced because of lack of adequate housing, and the rapidly declining quality of our education.
Fiji First has had eight years to bring about these necessary changes for our people. PDP states that if Fiji First cannot fix the problems that matter most for our people within the last eight years, then Fiji First does not know how to fix it. A PDP government will remove all decrees restricting our rights and freedoms, because when we do this we give you back your respect and dignity. A PDP government stands for social justice, therefore will address unemployment, poverty, health care, housing and education as matters of urgency.
PDP is for change, REAL CHANGE."