Poll counting underway in Fiji | india | Hindustan Times
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Poll counting underway in Fiji

The composition of the next government of the racially divided nation should be apparent by Tuesday.

india Updated: May 15, 2006 17:04 IST

Counting of votes began on Monday in the South Pacific state of Fiji, following a week of general election balloting over 100 of its islands, according to reports from the capital Suva.

The composition of the 71-seat Parliament and the next government of the racially divided nation should be apparent by Tuesday.

The election was largely fought on racial lines, with indigenous Fijian caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase challenged by his predecessor, Mahendra Chaudhry, an ethnic Indian who was overthrown in a nationalist coup in May 2000.

Although Chaudhry has lodged complaints of election rigging by the former government, more than 100 observers from the EU, the British Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum declared the ballot basically fair, Radio New Zealand reported.

It quoted Greg Urwin, the forum's secretary-general, as saying that reported complaints seemed to cross all ethnic groups and all parties, and that problems with voter registration were unlikely to have affected the validity of the election.

The British Commonwealth group said that some citizens had been unable to cast votes, which was a serious issue, but it did not believe there was a systematic effort to rig the elections.