Fiji parties say election count should stop after glitch

Dec 14, 2022, 10:05 AM | Updated: Dec 15, 2022, 12:06 am
Sitiveni Rabuka, the main challenger in Fiji's general election, speaks to media during a press con...

Sitiveni Rabuka, the main challenger in Fiji's general election, speaks to media during a press conference in Suva, Fiji, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. Rabuka and other other political parties called for an immediate halt to vote-counting after there was a glitch in the online results app followed by a big swing in favor of his opponent. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)

(Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The leaders of four political parties contesting Fiji’s general election called for an immediate halt to vote-counting Thursday after the online results app experienced a glitch and then the next batch of results swung in favor of the incumbent prime minister.

The latest events threaten the Pacific nation’s delicate democracy, which has been marred by four military coups in the past 35 years. This election has pitted two former coup leaders against each other.

Sitiveni Rabuka, who led the first coup back in 1987, has emerged as the main challenger to Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, who has held power for the past 16 years.

After polls closed Wednesday night, Rabuka’s People’s Alliance Party was leading in preliminary results.

At around midnight, election officials announced they had found an anomaly in the app system used by the public to follow the election. When the next batch of results was posted on the app, Bainimarama’s Fiji First party was solidly in the lead.

Rabuka said he didn’t have faith in the vote count after the glitch, and that results from party observers at polling stations didn’t match those provided by election officials.

“We now call for an immediate halt in the tallying of votes until an urgent forensic audit of the election system is conducted,” Rabuka told reporters at a press conference, where he was joined by three leaders of minor parties.

He said the the glitch had “called into serious question the integrity of the whole entire system.”

At an earlier press conference, Election Supervisor Mohammad Saneem had said they’d found an anomaly which had affected the app.

“We had to delete the data that had been published, and then we had to then re-upload the data on the app,” Saneem said.

Full results aren’t expected for several days.

Fiji is known abroad as a tourist paradise that is dotted with pristine beaches and filled with friendly, relaxed people.

However, the past few years have proved tough for many people in the nation of just under 1 million, after tourism evaporated when COVID-19 hit and the economy tanked.

The World Bank estimates the nation’s poverty rate is about 24%.

Bainimarama first seized the top job by force in 2006 and later refashioned himself as a democratic leader by introducing a new constitution and winning elections in 2014 and again — but by a reduced margin — in 2018.

After leading back-to-back coups in 1987, Rabuka was later elected prime minister in the 1990s, serving seven years in the role.

Before this year’s election, Fijian authorities enlisted an extra 1,500 police to ensure voting went smoothly.

Immediately after polls closed, Rabuka had said he liked his chances, and was “feeling great and getting better.”

But he’d cautioned that Bainimarama might not accept a losing result, and might try to seek recourse through a court dispute process.

Bainimarama appeared to be in no mood to answer questions from reporters on Wednesday after questioning the intelligence of one reporter before brushing aside other questions.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Paul Njoroge, right, points to photos of his wife and three children that were killed in the 2019 c...
Associated Press

Boeing pleads not guilty in case over deadly Max crashes

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Boeing pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge that it misled regulators who approved its 737 Max, the plane that was involved in two crashes that killed 346 people. Family members of passengers who died gave emotional testimony, calling for criminal prosecution of top Boeing officials. The families are trying […]
18 hours ago
abortion Capital gains tax Olympia meeting legislature abortion...
Associated Press

Washington lawmakers hear testimony on 7 abortion bills

Abortion rights proposals have been front and center in Olympia, Washington, this week as state lawmakers heard hours of public testimony on seven proposals that would reinforce abortion access.
18 hours ago
FILE - The sun dial near the Legislative Building is shown under cloudy skies, March 10, 2022, at t...
Gene Johnson, Associated Press

Justices weigh effort to balance Washington state’s tax code

SEATTLE (AP) — An effort to balance what is considered the nation’s most regressive state tax code came before the Washington Supreme Court on Thursday, with justices hearing arguments about whether they should overturn a prohibition on income taxes that dates to the 1930s. Washington is one of nine states without an income tax, and […]
18 hours ago
FILE - In this April 4, 2017, file photo, fountains erupt along the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas. A...
Associated Press

Lawsuit: Vegas Strip resorts used vendor to fix hotel rates

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal lawsuit in Nevada is seeking class-action damages for countless hotel patrons who booked rooms in Las Vegas since 2019, alleging that most hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have used a third-party vendor to illegally fix prices. The complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas alleges […]
18 hours ago
This undated photo provided by the Grants Pass Police Department shows Benjamin Obadiah Foster. Fos...
Associated Press

Police: Oregon fugitive kidnapped woman like 2019 Vegas case

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Police in southern Oregon were searching Thursday for a man accused of torturing a woman he held captive less than two years after he was convicted in Nevada of critically injuring another woman he held captive for two weeks. Police Chief Warren Hensman, of Grants Pass, Oregon, said in a telephone […]
18 hours ago
Brittany Lampkin of Yazoo County, extolls the Mississippi Black Women's Roundtable legislative agen...
Associated Press

Maternal deaths and disparities increase in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Deaths from pregnancy complications have become more prevalent in Mississippi, and racial disparities in the health of those who give birth have widened in recent years, according to a report released Thursday by the state’s Department of Health. The Mississippi Maternal Mortality Report shows that the maternal mortality rate increased by […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Fiji parties say election count should stop after glitch