PNG Transparency Group Slams 2012 Elections

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Polls ‘seriously flawed’ as democracy ‘compromised’

By Frank Senge Kolma

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 5, 2013) – Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) found the 2012 elections "unacceptable" and questions whether the "will of the people was truly expressed."

Its observers’ report just released indicates that there was inadequate application of procedures and the law and that a large number of people appear to have been disenfranchised as a result of roll inaccuracy and wrongful removal of names from the roll.

The last minute intervention by the Australian government averted what could have become an embarrassing disaster, the organization reveals.

TIPNG further calls on the people and the government to be less tolerant of prevailing excesses and be far more demanding.

TIPNG fielded 280 observers for the 2012 national parliamentary elections.

This was more than double the number of observers compared with those fielded to observe the 2007 general election.

The observers came from all sectors of society and from a range of urban and rural locations, including from countries in the Pacific region.

A report, based on the observations of this group of volunteers entitled TI Observer Report 2012, analyses what the observers saw and other data as well as discussing key issues around election integrity.

The report observes in part: "It is TIPNG’s view that the 2012 national parliamentary elections were seriously flawed to the extent that our democratic traditions are continuing to be seriously compromised – and as a consequence the trust in the electoral process continues to dissipate.

"However, trust in the process is critical to the on-going democratic development of our society. We are not alone in our concerns, as what we say appears to be very similar to not only many of our leaders but the Commonwealth Observer Group and the heads of some of the diplomatic missions.

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