Two PNG electorates likely to be undeclared by first parliament sitting

7:19 pm today

It’s likely that two election results won’t have been declared in two electorates by the time Papua New Guinea’s new parliament sits on Wednesday.

Papua New Guinea's parliament.

Papua New Guinea’s parliament. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The deadline for the return of election writs was extended from last Friday to today.

According to the Electoral Commission late on Monday, results were yet to be declared in nine of the 111 parliament seats, although most would conclude in the next day or so.

A crowd gathered in Mendi during vote counting.

A crowd gathered in Mendi during vote counting. Photo: Melvin Levongo

A spokesman for the Commission said that only two would be likely to not make it in time for the first sitting of parliament: Kandep and the Southern Highlands regional seat

Alphone Muapi said in the case of Kandep, vote counting was suspended because of deadly violence related to the election.

Apprehended men who went on a rampage at the vote counting place in Wabag town.

Apprehended men who went on a rampage at the vote counting place in Wabag town. Photo: Supplied

He said in the case of Southern Highlands protests and petitions have caused the delay.

“Because [in] Southern Highlands there is 100 boxes yet to be counted for the primary counts they are not in the elimination process,” said Alphone Muapi.

Meanwhile rushing to begin parliament before MPs-elect are declared has been described as an infringement of citizens’ rights.

That’s according to Don Polye, the sitting MP for Kandep Open.

Furthermore, the head counting officer is understood to have disappeared amidst lingering tensions in this Highlands electorate.

PNG Opposition Leader, Don Polye, at Maramuni

PNG Opposition Leader, Don Polye, at Maramuni Photo: supplied

Mr Polye, who led the vote count before it was suspended, admits there’s a likelihood a result won’t be declared for his seat before parliament begins on Wednesday.

He said the fundamental principle on which a Westminster parliamentary system is based is the representation of every citizen of the country.

“So even for the parliament to sit, let alone formation of a government or election of a speaker, we would like to see every representative of the people of Papua New Guinea sit in to see those two most important activities take place, especially after an election,” said Don Polye.

Don Polye with candidates John Pakua Ngawa and William Bill Gare in Talasea, WNB

Don Polye with candidates John Pakua Ngawa and William Bill Gare in Talasea, WNB Photo: supplied

According to Mr Polye, the sitting should have been held back to allow for all seats to be declared.

He said the scale of flaws and challenges in the 2017 election mark it as PNG’s worst on record.

Mr Polye said the Election Commission was under-funded for the holding of the election which was consequently disorganised, poorly administered and full of unfairness.

 

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/336201/two-png-electorates-likely-to-be-undeclared-by-first-parliament-sitting

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