3,435 Candidates Set To Contest For 111 Seats In PNG Elections

admin's picture

Electoral officials record highest number of candidates ever

By Simon Eroro and Johnny Poiya

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 29, 2012) – A record number of 3,435 candidates have nominated for the 2012 general election, which is 676 more than in the 2007 polls, and includes 135 women who have come forward to try and enter the male dominated Parliament.

Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen yesterday announced these record figures from all the nomination data collected to date for the 2012 polls, which many people see as the most important and crucial election in Papua New Guinea’s 37-year history.

According to the figures, the seat with the least number of candidates is the Prime Minister’s own electorate of Ialibu Pangia with eight nominees, boosting Peter O’Neill’s chances of retaining his seat in a comfortable, if not landslide victory.

The seven candidates have all indicated that they will contest jointly in a combined bid to unseat Mr. O’Neill, who is the second Highlands Prime Minister after Western Highlander Paias Wingti.

Leading the challenge to oust the Prime Minister is local businessman and owner of Yumi Yet Real Estate Eke Lama.

The small number of candidates – compared to the rest of the electorates in the country – is probably an indication of the popular public support Mr. O’Neill has in his Ialibu Pangia electorate.

His people have repeatedly declared in public that the Prime Minister will again stroll in to serve his third term on the first count.

Mr. O’Neill, who is leader of People National Congress, and his colleague, Kandep MP and leader of THE Party Don Polye, were the only two Highlands MPs to have won on first-count votes in the 2007 election when the Preferential Voting System was introduced, replacing the First Past the Post system.

Commenting on the record figures, Commissioner Trawen said: "This is the highest number of candidates to contest a national general election since the first election in 1977. A total of 2,759 candidates nominated to contest the election in 2007 and 2,910 nominated in 2002."

He said out of the total of 3,435 candidates, a record number of 135 women nominated, compared with 101 in 2007.

"Southern Region registered the highest number of female candidates with 56, followed by Momase with 30, Highlands 27 and New Guinea Islands with 22. Of the 22 provinces, Enga is the only one that did not record any female candidates," Mr. Trawen said.

Highlands Region has the most number of candidates with 1,388 followed by Southern Region with 986, Momase 824 and New Guinea Islands with 328.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister O’Neill yesterday urged candidates and voters not to incite violence during the election period, following media reports that one man had died and two others received serious injuries after violence flared up between supporters of two opposing candidates during nominations in Jimi electorate in Jiwaka Province last Wednesday.

He said the 2012 elections gave the people "an opportunity to vote good leaders into Parliament to bring change and much needed services to our districts".

"Voters should use the campaign period to assess the candidates contesting in their area. Are they worthy candidates? Do they have the personality and virtues to be good leaders? Have they got the right policy ideas for development?" he said.

"Voters should listen to candidates and ask questions about what they stand for. Violence stands for nothing and will bring us nothing but misery and hardship to our families and our community," the Prime Minister said.

"This election is crucial for all of us and our children. Do we want to elect good leaders to continue the change and improvement in service delivery that (my) Government has started or go back to the miserable days of the last nine years under Somare? That’s the challenge ahead of us, and violence will not help us make the right choice."

Prime Minister O’Neill said under the call-out authorized by the National Executive Council, Police and Defence Force personnel have already been deployed in trouble spots in the Highlands, including Porgera in Enga and Tari in Hela Province where work on the multi-billion kina LNG Project is ongoing.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment