Dates Set For Next Year’s PNG Elections

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

National, Local Level polls to coincide June-July

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 8, 2016) – The Local Level Government elections will be held concurrently with 2017 National Elections, Chief Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato officially announced last Friday.

Mr Gamato said the 2017 election dates as have been by the Governor-General. The tentative election program is;

He said the nomination period is seven days (April 20-27l), campaign period is eight weeks (April 20-July 8) and polling period is 14 days (June 24-July 8). Mr Gamato said that by law, both National and LLG elections can be run together, by the use of the words "run concurrently. The term of National Parliament is five years, hence, the term of office for LLGs must be concurrent with the term of Parliament.

"If the writs for the LLGs are issued in accordance with the term of Parliament, the LLGs will fully operate until the return of their writs like the National Parliament," he said.

In the meantime, the Chief Electoral Commissioner announced that the Electoral Commission will only conduct council ward elections in 2017 and not the LLG presidential elections and the minister will issue writs for the council wards only.

Mr Gamato said this following the National Executive Council’s decision in December last year to abolish the election of LLG presidents by the people and approved that LLG presidents be voted from among the ward members.

He said this decision has been referred to the first legislative counsel for drafting of law. "The National Executive Council has now determined that the election of presidents be done by councillors under section 12(1)(b) of the Local-level Government Administration Act 1997."

"As such, the Electoral Commission will not be required to conduct the presidential elections in 2017 except for the council ward elections," Mr Gamato said.

He said writs for the LLG elections can be returned to the minister at a date after return of return of the parliamentary writs after a new Minister has been appointed.

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