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Election eligibility of dual citizens raised at hearing

Charlene Lanyon
Thursday, September 22, 2016

THE leader of the Fiji United Freedom Party has suggested to the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Justice, Law and Human Rights that persons with dual citizenship living in Fiji should be able to contest the national elections.

Party leader Jagath Karunaratne made this statement in his submission to the committee in Suva on Monday.

"We want to clarify on the limitation that a dual citizen cannot contest or become a candidate and the reason was that the loyalty of that person would be in question," Mr Karunaratne said.

"Dual (citizen) or not, you are treated as a citizen of Fiji, you have all the rights to participate in all political activities and be a member of a party and hold a position in the party, but then you cannot contest so that seems unfair.

"If you have all the other rights then you should be able to contest."

Committee chairman Ashneel Sudhakar said the present situation was that a person must reside in Fiji for at least 18 months to two years.

"If someone is a dual citizen, we might have a situation where people from foreign countries could get their dual citizenship and contest the elections in Fiji and that could lead to a very undesirable result," Mr Sudhakar said.

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