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Over 49,000 vote in Fiji pre-poll

Suva, Sep 15 (IANS): More than 49,505 electors have cast their votes in Fiji, home to a large Indian-origin population, during a two-week-long pre-poll which commenced Sep 3 ahead of the first general elections in the country in eight years, media reported.

About 66,000 voters living on outlying islands and in remote inland areas are among those who were eligible to vote early in pre-polling ahead of the Sep 17 vote. The country has over 504,588 eligible voters, according to the Fijian Elections Office.

On Aug 24, the Fijian Elections Office published the list of communities which are to cast their votes early giving details of polling venues and voting times.

The Fijian Elections Office Monday confirmed that over 49,505 voters exercised their franchise in the pre-poll which commenced Sep 3 and ended Sep 15, Fiji Live reported.

"I believe this voter turnout in Fiji reflects the excitement and enthusiasm of the Fijian people to participate in this historic election," the official added.

Fiji's first general elections since the 2006 coup will be held Sep 17. The Pacific Ocean nation saw four coups between 1987 and 2006.

Ethnic Indians comprise 37 percent of Fiji's population of nearly 870,000. The country comprises an archipelago of more than 332 islands.