The Fiji Times »Chandra resigns – Party leaders write to COC

Suva’s lawyer Suresh Chandra has resigned as chairman of the electoral commission.

Mr Chandra made the shocking revelation during the signing of terms of reference between the Fijian Election Office, the Pacific Disability Forum and the National Council for the Disabled at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva yesterday.

He said he informed the president, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere, of his decision and that yesterday was his last day in office.

“It is with a heavy heart that I wish to inform that I have informed His Excellency the President and the Commission of Constitutional Bureaus that I am withdrawing from my appointment as President of the Electoral Commission,” he said.

Mr Chandra said he was honored to be appointed for two terms as chairman of the Election Commission and has always strived to maintain his appointment with dignity, pride and honor.

“I would like to thank His Excellency the President, the Committee on Constitutional Offices and the people of Fiji for entrusting me with this immense responsibility.

“I wish the Election Commission, the Fijian Election Bureau and the Fijian people every success in the upcoming general election. “

Mr Chandra was first appointed chairman of the electoral commission in 2017 and was reappointed last year for a new three-year term.

Three political party leaders said on Friday that they wrote to the Constitutional Bureaus Commission (COC) asking for Mr Chandra’s impeachment.

Fijian Labor Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry, Unity Fiji Party Leader Savenaca Narube and Freedom Alliance Party Leader Jagath Karunaratne had asked the COC to appoint a tribunal to investigate Mr Chandra’s impeachment according to the article. 137 (3) (a) (i) of the Constitution.

Party leaders claimed that Mr. Chandra did not hold a valid attorney’s certificate.

Executives also said they were told that Mr. Chandra had practiced law with a conditional certificate of practice for the past two years due to problems related to losses in his law firm’s trust account.

They had asked the President to suspend Mr. Chandra pending the completion of the investigation and the Tribunal’s findings under article 137 (4) of the Constitution.

“We urge you to pay close attention to recent complaints about the conduct and administration of the Office of the Election Supervisor and now the issues surrounding the Chairman of the Commission,” the leaders said.

The questions sent to the Constitutional Offices Commission on Friday had not been answered when this edition went to press last night.

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