PNG LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS APPROVED

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Polling to begin May 17

By Harlyne Joku

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 9, 2008) - Writs for the local level government (LLG) elections will be issued next Thursday.

Polling will begin on May 17.

Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen confirmed yesterday that Parliament had passed section 34 of the Organic Law on provincial and local level governments (Amendment) allowing for the LLG elections to be held within 12 months after the return of writs for the national elections.

Parliament yesterday voted unanimously (82-0) in favor of the amendments.

Before the vote was taken, Inter-Government Relations Minister Joe Pomat had explained to Parliament that according to the original law, LLG elections were to be within three months after the date of the issuing of writs of the national elections.

However, he said the amendments were necessary to ensure the LLG elections can legally take place.

Mr. Trawen said Minister Pomat has confirmed being available for the issuing of writs on April 17.

He said there are 326 LLGs, 299 rural LLGs, 27 urban LLGs, 27 urban LLGs and 6,003 wards altogether. "I am aware of this morning’s Parliament passage of section 34 to hold LLG elections within 12 months and am indeed pleased.

"This has now removed any doubts that people may have on the issue. The way is now clear for local level government elections to be held, starting with the issue of writs next Thursday," the chief electoral commissioner said.

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