PNG Governor-General Set To Issue Electoral Writs

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Electoral committee officials pleased with status of rolls

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 17, 2012) – Governor-General Grand Chief Sir Michael Ogio faces a demanding task tomorrow.

From 11am, he will sign into existence 111 official documents to signify the issuance of the writs for the 2012 National General Elections.

Sir Michael will issue the 111 writs for the 89 districts at the country’s oldest public service Institute of Public Administration.

Top Government executives from the election coordinating body – the Inter Departmental Electoral Committee (IDEC) are now pleased with the Electoral Roll report and update.

IDEC Chairman Manasupe Zurenuoc, who is also PNG Government’s Chief Secretary, said yesterday he was now satisfied with the Electoral Rolls after physically inspecting them himself.

IDEC is made up of the Police Commissioner, Defence Commander, Registrar of Political Party and Candidates, Electoral Commissioner, Attorney-General, Secretaries of Finance, Department of Personnel Management, Works, all other Departmental Heads including Provincial Administrators representing the four regions of PNG.

The regional reps are: NGI Aquilla Tubal, Southern is Kei Raga, Mamose is represented by Morobe Administrator Kemasang Tomala and Highlands rep from Enga, Dr. Samson Amean.

Dr. Amean also said that he was now satisfied despite travelling to Port Moresby this week with a "very heavy heart and a worried man" because of all the complaints and even a potential petition to stall the elections from a certain Highlands faction.

"I am now happy with the rolls, after inspecting the rolls myself… specifically the progress and yes, I am happy that the Commissioner has done that job," Dr. Amean said.

"No roll is perfect... therefore I am pleased to say that I have invited the Electoral Commissioner to come up to the Highlands on Wednesday and address the ROs, Election Managers and others up there."

Dr. Amean said he was pleased with the report and the progress of the Electoral Roll and has invited Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen to the Highlands next Wednesday to address the population of that part of the country on the positive progress of the rolls.

Mr. Manasupe also announced yesterday that DPM Secretary John Kali has been given the instructions under Section 16 of the Public Service Act to now release all public servants or staff that are involved in the elections to go out and help the Electoral Commission.

"We are all geared up, and ready to deliver elections," Mr. Manasupe said.

Registrar of Political Party Dr. Alphonse Gelu spoke about the parties that still had to resolve their in-house matters and disputes. Dr. Gelu singled out Pangu Pati, Rural Development Party, PNG Labour Party and Country Party who had two separate lists before the electoral commission and their office because of disputes amongst the executives. He warned that if these parties do not resolve their issues before the nomination period, their candidates will all contest as independents.

Meanwhile Trawen proudly said yesterday that the electoral rolls for all 89 Open electorates will be ready prior to the commencement of polling on June 23.

He said all the preliminary rolls are currently being returned to Port Moresby after the public display and inspection in each electorate and necessary additions, amendments and deletions are being done now.

"I want to make it very clear to voters in PNG that the quality of data for all the electoral rolls for the 89 open electorates depends entirely on the quality of initial field work," he said yesterday.

"We are only processing electoral data that has been collected during the enrollment exercise by enrolment agents and officials engaged by the Commission."

He was responding to reports and claims that the electoral rolls for certain wards have been inflated while others under-enrolled. "Some wards or some parts of wards may have been missed by enumerators accidently during the initial roll improvement work. That is why we worked hard to provide a period for public inspection of the preliminary roll – to ensure voters were given the opportunity to check the preliminary roll and to ask for an application for enrolment forms from their local returning officer if a name was missing." Commissioner Trawen also advised MPs, intending candidates and voters especially in the seven Highlands provinces and Manus that electoral roll for their respective electorates will be finalized and certified in the family order and not in alphabetical order.

He explained that the preliminary rolls were printed in alphabetical order due to the limited time his office was given.

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