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By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 3) – A review of the Papua New Guinea Common Roll has found that there are 2.2 million more names - commonly referred to as ghost names - than there should be on the common roll.

Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen yesterday described this as a massive inflation of the electoral common roll, making it useless.

Mr. Trawen said Papua New Guinea required a completely new roll for the 2007 general elections, due in 14 months.

"Our review shows an estimated 2.7 million eligible voters, however on the roll, we have 4.9 million voters," Mr. Trawen said, adding that the massive inflation means that the common electoral rolls were of no value.

"The statistics are frightening and show that the electoral roll does not truly represent eligible voters. We have a lot more people on the roll than eligible voters," he said.

He said this must be corrected and the Electoral Commission needs to fix the situation before 2007 elections.

"We have for this very reason, announced that Papua New Guinea will have a complete new electoral roll for the 2007 elections," he said.

Mr. Trawen, for the first time, released the electoral roll review statistics with the Highlands provinces topping the list.

Chimbu province had 155,475 eligible voters but had 429,524 people on the common roll, a massive 176 percent over enrolment, or 105,629 ghost names.

Eastern Highlands had a 142 percent over enrolment with 239,869 eligible voters but 579,307 on the common roll.

Enga had 169,258 eligible voters but 389,355 names on the roll, a 130 percent over enrolment.

Southern Highlands had an estimated 300,654 eligible voters but had 573,784 on the common roll, a 91 percent over enrolment.

Western Highlands had 253,984 eligible voters but had 474,886 names on the roll, an over enrolment of 87 percent.

For the coastal provinces, Central province topped the list with a 93 percent over enrolment with 94,609 eligible voters and a massive 182,989 on the roll.

Mr. Trawen said the exercise to register eligible voters had begun and would continue into next year.

Mr. Trawen said it was the responsibility of the Commission to educate and provide information to people on electoral registration and on many reforms under the Limited Preferential Vote system.

He said the Commission would shortly begin a massive awareness drive using the media.

The Electoral Commissioner announced this during the launching of the Transparency International, Ombudsman Commission and the Electoral Commission Limited Preferential Vote system awareness drive in Port Moresby yesterday.

February 6, 2006

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