Preparations for the start of the Moresby North-West by-election counting process are on track and first preference counting is scheduled to begin at the respective WARD counting centers today.
The Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission (PNGEC) commended the voters of the Moresby North-West electorate for participating in the by-election on Friday, 4 June.
The PNGEC acknowledges the concerns raised by electoral stakeholders regarding the deferral of the by-election from Wednesday to Friday. While the PNGEC was prepared to implement the by-election as scheduled, ensuring clear operational planning and information sharing with the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) was considered a top priority.
The need for greater stakeholder engagement and coordination has been identified and rectified, especially regarding communication and collaboration with the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) Provincial Election Steering Committee (PESC).
The PNGEC expresses its gratitude to the dedication and support from the NCDC-PESC and RPNGC during electoral preparations and in the post-election day period leading to the return of writ.
The incident with stakeholder suspicion over administration issues ending up at the Hohola Police station is such that has been rectified. This is where stake holders participation is widely expected as we progress into the final stages of preparations.
The PNGEC also cautioned all candidates, supporters, and voters to refrain from the willful distribution of misinformation or disinformation aimed at disrupting electoral process or creating false rumors that encourage suspicion and mistrust of electoral officials.
The misuse and even abuse of social media platforms could lead to unnecessary disruptions and even violence during the electoral events.
“The PNGEC values the inputs of all electoral stakeholders in conducting elections, and we are committed to a whole-of-society approach to ensure the integrity of elections. We also acknowledge the lessons from the 2020 and 2021 by-elections in Menyamya, Goroka, Bougainville, and Moresby North-West.
The PNGEC will apply these lessons to delivering a safe and genuine 2021 voter enrolment exercise and 2022 National Election,” said Acting Electoral Commissioner Sinai.
“The PNGEC is a constitutionally independent body mandated to conduct elections; there should be no interference from stakeholders in our administrative duties,” said Acting Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai when referring to the recent conduct of the Moresby North-West Open by-election; “the PNGEC is responsible and accountable for the transparent manner in which it implements all elections.”
In advance of the 2022 National Election, the PNGEC calls for strong working relationships with the national Inter-departmental Election Committee (IDEC) and all 22 PESCs across Papua New Guinea. Even though the PNGEC embraces the whole-of-government approach towards conducting elections, with advice and assistance from both governmental agencies and stakeholder groups, there also needs to be a clear demarcation of responsibilities between the PNGEC and its electoral stakeholders as provided for by the electoral law and regulation.
Acting Electoral Commissioner Sinai continued: “We recognize that there must be in regular communication between the PNGEC and our electoral stakeholders — such as the IDEC, PESCs, RPNGC, candidates, scrutineers, and observer groups — as this could prevent future misunderstandings.”
The PNGEC will strengthen these lines of communication and increase briefing and training on standard electoral administration procedures so that monitoring groups better understand the electoral process.