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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 10, 1997 - PACNEWS)---New Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Bill Skate has been charged with offering bribes during last month's national elections to gain a seat in Parliament and, in a follow-up vote by Parliament's members, to PNG's top political post.

A losing candidate for the National Capital District seat, Doctor Paul Mondia, filed a petition with the Court of Disputed Returns saying Skate's win is the result of bribery and a long series of irregularities and foul play.

The charges allege there was insufficient polling time, names of voters were missing, there were vote counting irregularities, and bribes were offered.

Mondia wants the National Capital District election results to be declared invalid and a new election to take place within two months.

The Court has received more than 25 other petitions seeking a review of election results throughout the Pacific Islands region's most populous country.


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