VOTE - Fiji Project Launched to Strengthen Electoral Integrity

May 9, 2024

UNDP Pacific Deputy Resident Representative Yemesrach Workie (left) with Fiji's Acting Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa.

Photo: UNDP

Suva, Fiji – A new initiative supporting the work of the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) has been inaugurated in Suva, marking a significant step towards enhancing transparency and inclusivity in Fiji's electoral processes.

At a time when trust and accountability in democratic institutions is needed the Voter Outreach for Transparent Elections - Fiji (VOTE – Fiji Project) will further build on the FEO’s successful collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji. The FEO worked closely with the UNDP during the 2022 General Election, ensuring a representative, participatory, transparent, and inclusive democracy is strengthened throughout the Pacific Island nation. 

Backed by financial and technical support from the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, the project will ensure inclusive and representative decision-making in both electoral planning and processes, while bolstering advocacy and access to information programming being rolled up by the FEO.

The Acting Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa, emphasized that the implementation of innovative approaches and strategies included in the project, would significantly elevate civic and voter awareness across Fiji.

“This project and the activities that will be undertaken will help strengthen the work of the FEO. Through increasing voter understanding of civic duty and responsibilities, this work will play a pivotal role in enhancing public engagement with the mandate of the FEO,” Ms. Mataiciwa said.

Furthermore, the project focuses on increasing women's participation in the electoral space and supporting people living with disabilities; not only fostering a more inclusive electoral environment but also seeing it contribute significantly to the FEO's overall capacity and effectiveness. This work will also build on the FEO’s flagship support to marginalized groups, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji Clair McNamara said:

“Australia is proud to partner with the Fijian Elections Office and our regional partners, to continue building strong institutions that ensure Fiji’s vibrant democracy reflects the diversity and aspirations of the Fijian people.”

New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Fiji, H.E Charlotte Darlow said:

“Through our partnership in the VOTE-Fiji initiative, New Zealand continues to support the Fiji Elections Office’s mandate to strengthen transparency, accountability, and participation in Fiji's electoral process. By empowering individuals with knowledge of their rights and responsibilities, inclusivity can be embedded in the democratic process.”  

UNDP Pacific Deputy Resident Representative, Yemesrach Workie, added:

“In 2024, the world faces an unprecedented test for democracy, with nearly 40 percent of the global population heading to the polls. Fiji stands among this number, set to hold Local Government elections in the latter part of the year – the first municipal elections since 2005. VOTE-Fiji stands as a beacon of support, helping to fortify democratic processes and ensure inclusivity in Fiji's electoral landscape.”

For further media enquiries please contact:

Risiate Biudole, Communications Analyst, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. (E)