Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai has thanked all his electoral officials across the country for doing a tremendous job and returning majority of the Election Writs in time of 11th Parliament to convene and conduct the first business of the day in electing a new government.
He said about 109 Writs were returned after counting for Provincial and Open Electorate were completed in many parts of the country.
Mr Sinai thanked all election officials in doing a tremendous job under difficult circumstance, particularly in the Highlands Region in making sure counting was completed and winners declared.
The commissioner urged electoral officials in those electorates that are still counting to speed up and complete counting before Monday 151th August and have the remaining Writs returned.
“While I have returned majority of Writs last Friday to the Governor General, the remainder will follow as they are received by the Commission. This is provided for under the legal frame work, and I will evoke Section 81(3) of the Electoral Law to extend the date for the date of the return of Writs for those specific provincial and open electorates,” he said.
Mr Sinai appealed to all leaders, political parties, candidates, and scrutineers and their fellow supporters to respect the electoral process and allow counting to progress until the remaining seats are declared.
The Electoral Commissioner also clarified the position of the commission on the declaration he made for Markham and Kabwum under the Special Circumstances provision of the Organic Law.
He said the decision to declare the leading candidates of the two electorates following the burning of ballot papers and destruction of counting centers and property was made after careful consideration.
” The decision was not taken lightly. Wider consultation was required and I consult my lawyers and seek legal advice and sit with my senior management team, the provincial election manager and the respective Returning Officers for the effected electorates before we took a decision to accept the Writs for Markham and Kabwum.” he said.
The Commissioner said the destruction of ballot papers and the counting centers were pre planned to sabotage the electoral process by disgruntled candidates and their supporters particularly to disturb and deny the leading candidates from winning.
“The Commissioner took the view that to conduct a supplementary or by election in these two electorates would mean the commission is surrendering its powers and authority to the criminal element to disturb counting processes in any time and with intention to call for a by election. These incidents are first of its kind in PNG and decision we take now in election management body must serve as a deterrent so such is not repeated in the future.”
Pic: Ruben Giusu