Pre-polling starts

An FEO official explains the voting process before Vanuakula villagers took to the polls in Nalawa, Ra. Picture: REPEKA NASIKO

As we count down the days to the 2018 national elections, we should expect campaigns to lift a notch.

A little over a week away from election day, on November 14, the battle lines are beginning to look a lot more clear for the various parties.

It is quite clear the 22 per cent undecided voters on top of the 10 per cent of voters who have said nothing about a party preference rate highly.

The parties obviously will differ in strategies. For the seasoned watcher, the signs are evident.

Strategies have been worked out, and focus areas targeted.

To suggest things can get dirty might just be an understatement.

The key now is to have the ability to sway the swing voter block, if we may call it that. It is a massive figure when one compares the month leading up to our 2014 election.

We had 11 per cent then as opposed to the 32 per cent initially announced two weeks away from this year’s poll date.

The parties sense there is uncertainty. The next few days are going to determine how the votes swing, if they already haven’t done so.

There is growing anticipation right across the board. Yesterday our pre-polling started.

Voters were reminded to only cast their votes in the areas which they were assigned to.

Electoral Commission chairman Suresh Chandra highlighted this while opening the pre-polling for the 2018 General Election in Nalidi Village, Nakorotubu, Ra.

Pre-polling, he said, would be held in 138 venues around the country with 23 venues in the Central Division, 49 in the Eastern Division, 28 in the Northern Division and 38 in the Western Division. A total of 15609 voters, he said, were expected to cast their votes on the first day of pre-polling.

Pre-polling began yesterday and ends on November 10.

There can be no doubts about the impact of this year’s elections. It is turning into an interesting race.

The challenge, as we have always said, is with you the voter, to understand the parties, their manifestos, and to ask questions of aspiring candidates. The onus is on the parties to create the level of awareness that will attract voters.

This week will no doubt be about reiterating what they each can offer the voter, especially those in the undecided block.

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