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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 28) - The deployment of
more than 2,000 soldiers and police has ensured a calm start to polling in Papua
New Guinea’s Southern Highlands.

The high level of security has been put in place after last
years elections in the region were declared void because of violence,
intimidation and ballot box interference.

Half of the country’s police force is involved in running the
supplementary elections in six of the South Highlands nine seats.

The final ballot boxes from the Koroba-Lake Kopiago electorate
have already arrived in the provincial capital, Mendi for counting after polling
started on Saturday.

Officials are attempting to avoid tampering with ballot boxes by
flying them under security to be counted in one place.

They are also using officials from outside the province to
overcome local pressures.

Voting in one of the areas worst hit by violence last year, the
township of Tari, is due to get underway today.

April 28, 2003

Radio New Zealand International:

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