SIR JULIUS CHAN LOOKS OUT AS PANGU HEADS FOR UPSET PAPUA NEW GUINEA WINS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 6, 2002 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius)---Pangu (the Papua and Niugini Union Pati) is heading for a series of major upset wins in New Ireland province as the Papua New Guinea elections continue.

Pangu looks like ending the attempted return to Parliament of former Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan and ousting New Ireland Governor Paul Tohian.

In the much-watched New Ireland provincial seat Pangu's Ian Ling Stuckey with 18,848 votes led Sir Julius (People’s Progress Party) 11,421 and sitting Member of Parliament and Governor Tohian (National Alliance Party) 4,895.

For the first time Pangu is close to claiming all three seats in the province. It could also set a national record for winning all parliamentary seats in a province. 

Martin Aini, the Pangu candidate for Kavieng Open, had taken over the lead from former MP and Pan Melanesian Congress leader Ben Micah.

In the Namatani Open seat, Pangu candidate Elias Salot was ahead of Sir Julius’ son Byron -- polling 31 percent of the votes counted so far. The junior Chan was behind with 14.6 percent of the votes.

The news though was not so good for Pangu leader and Mining Minister Chris Haiveta at the start of counting for the Gulf provincial seat.

Mr. Haiveta was running third behind People’s National Congress candidate Havila Kavo and Papua New Guinea Revival Party man Abel Koivi.

Almost 3,000 candidates representing more than 40 parties are competing for 109 parliamentary seats across Papua New Guinea. Voting has been pushed into an unexpected third week because of security and financial worries.

Sixteen people are reported to have died in election-related violence, with most problems in the volatile Highlands.

The ruling People’s Democratic Party welcomed back Finance and Planning Minister Andrew Kumbakor, who retained his Nuku Open seat in West Sepik Province.

This came in the 24 hours that saw two of his colleagues -- Trade and Industry Minister Tukape Masani and Social Welfare and Development Minister William Ebenosi -- lose.

People’s Democratic Party founder and former Prime Minister Paias Wingti continued to maintain a commanding lead for the Western Highlands Provincial seat he lost to Father Robert Lak in 1997.

That 1997 contest was a political battle akin to the biblical David versus Goliath fight, which ended with the humble shepherd boy conquering the mighty warrior.

But this time Mr. Wingti is being swept back into Parliament and Father Lak out.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

NATIONAL ALLIANCE LEADS PNG IN EARLY ELECTION RETURNS

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 7, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Initial counting in the Papua New Guinea elections shows Sir Michael Somare's National Alliance has taken an early but slight lead over Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta's Peoples Democratic Movement.

However, Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports that not a single seat has yet been declared in the Highlands where Sir Mekere is counting on winning a significant number of seats.

"The latest result to be declared is East New Britain Regional where Governor Leo Dion has easily retained the seat for the National Alliance.

That gives Sir Michael Somare's party five seats, one more than Sir Mekere Morauta's Peoples Democratic Movement.

"Only 17 seats have been declared so far and the other eight winners represent seven different parties.

"Voting continues in quite a number of seats, including those in the troubled Southern Highlands where a fleet of helicopters including two Papua New Guinea Defence Force Iroquois are trying to help polling officials overcome transport problems.

"Supporters of some candidates have destroyed bridges and others have erected roadblocks, which they're guarding with guns.

"Of the 109 seats in Parliament, 39 are in the Highlands and it could be next week before electoral officials can declare any winners up there.

"Sean Dorney, Radio Australia."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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