Election of a prime minister on the floor of Parliament will be done by voice and not secret ballot, the Standing Orders Committee has recommended in its review report on Parliament’s Standing Orders that was tabled in Parliament on Friday.
There was much shock last December when members of Parliament used secret ballots to elect a new prime minister, with one vote from the coalition of The People’s Alliance party, National Federation Party and Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) going to FijiFirst leader Frank Bainimarama, resulting in Sitiveni Rabuka winning by just one vote. Now, the Standing Orders will be changed on 12 July to remove secret ballot voting for the election of Prime Minister.
“If more than one person is proposed, Parliament must elect a Prime Minister by roll call vote and follow the procedure set out in the rest of this Standing Order,” states the review report.
“The Secretary-General asks each member separately how the member wishes to vote. Each member upon being called gives his or her vote stating the name of the person for whom the member wishes to vote for.
“On completion of the vote, the Secretary-General declares the result of the vote, and presents the result to the Speaker.
“The Speaker announces the result and declares the person receiving the greatest number of votes to be elected.
“If no nominee receives the votes of more than half of all members, the Speaker must call for a second roll call vote within 24 hours of the first vote and in the same manner as that vote. If a nominee receives the votes of more than half of all members in this roll call vote, ballot, the person assumes office as the Prime Minister by taking before the President the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance and Oath or Affirmation for Prime Minister set out in the Schedule, which the President must administer.”
If no nominee receives the votes of more than half of all members, the report stated, then the process is repeated. If, after the third ballot, no nominee receives the votes of more than half of all members, the Speaker must notify the President in writing.
The President must then within 24 hours, dissolve Parliament and issue a writ for a general election.
The Standing Orders Committee members are; Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Lynda Tabuya, Alitia Bainivalu, Pio Tikoduadua, Aseri Radrodro and Alvick Maharaj.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS