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August 14, 2017 | by  | in News | [ssba]

PNG Election Part II

The Papua New Guinea general election that took place between June 24 and July 8 has been characterised internationally as suffering from mismanagement and inconsistencies.

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has condemned the conduct of the election as “disheartening and completely unacceptable to the vast majority of our people who believe in good and fair actions, transparency and democratic processes.”

Peter O’Neill has retained his position as Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, winning the vote of his peers 60–46 at Parliament’s first sitting on August 2.

Parliament’s first sitting was initially delayed after two men claimed to be Member-elect for the Gumine Open electorate in Chimbu Province. Lucas Dekena and Nick Kuman both claimed they were declared winner by a Returning Officer, the second case of double declaration in the 2017 election.

The Chief Justice was prevented from swearing in a Member-elect until a resolution could be found.

The Electoral Commissioner Palatis Gamato identified Kuman the winner. Gatamo stated that Returning Officer Max Yomba had “wrongly and illegally” declared Dekena as Member-elect.

The Commonwealth Observer Group, chaired by former New Zealand Governor-General Anand Satyanand, sent teams to 12 PNG provinces to monitor polling. Satyanand explained to RNZ that the teams were to observe independently but were “not to be responsible for the conduct of the election.”

In his report, Satyanand identified that “a key issue to this election has been the significant number of voters whose names were not on the common roll.”

Gamato admitted that thousands of citizens were disenfranchised and ineligible to vote, explaining to RNZ that the entirety of 2016 “was committed to doing work on the roll.”

“Unfortunately the funding for the roll updating was not done on a timely basis for us at the Electoral Commission to work on the roll.”

All three members of the Electoral Advisory Commission resigned in early July, saying the Electoral Commission refused to provide them with the basic information necessary to perform their “constitutional duties and roles.”


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