PNG Electoral Commissioner 'Confident' A Successfull Election Will Follow Difficult Start

UPNG students say most who showed up to vote could not

By Malum Nalu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 30, 2017) – Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato remains confident the commission will “sail through the difficult days” to deliver a successful general election.

Yesterday in Lae after casting his vote at Ward Two along Cassowary Road, he said he was “quite happy so far with polling in the country – except for one or two places, mainly in the Highlands”.

“We’ve had to insert teams and extract teams. We have a little bit of difficulty on chopper arrangements,” he said.

“The situation changes every day. I’m hoping that we can go through. We’ll go through.”

He said polling in the National Capital District was all set for today after it was deferred from Tuesday.

Some election workers had refused to conduct polling because their “camp allowance” had not been paid.

Meanwhile, NCD deputy election manager Kavanamur Bale told The National after an exercise involving election officials in Port Moresby that “we want the process to be as transparent as possible”.

There are four wards in North-East, three in South and five in Moresby North-West with a total of about 3000 polling officials.

Election manager Alwyn Jimmy will be assisted by Bale and Moresby North-East returning officer Billy George for the one-day polling.

Jimmy yesterday set out a transparent process to restore confidence of candidates and voters.

Jimmy told polling officials their allowances would be taken care of, including their one-day polling allowance in cash.

Jimmy apologised to voters and candidates for what transpired on Tuesday, forcing the deferral of polling.

“What has happened has happened. We can only correct it. We are just humans. Today, there is a different person managing the elections in NCD,” he said.

[PIR editor's note: On June 30, 2017 PNG Post-Courier reported that 'Disgruntled students from the University of PNG are demanding an audience with PNG Electoral Commissioner after realizing that many students are not on the roll to vote. ... Students congregated at the University’s Drill Hall to poll at 8am but did not commence voting after finding out that a majority of the student populace is not on the electoral roll and thus cannot vote. ... A few of the students say the list provided by electoral officials is that of 2012. Meaning the vast majority will miss out.']

“I’m ready to conduct elections for NCD.

“All the staff at the headquarters are supporting me.

“I want the cooperation from everyone.”

NCD Governor Powes Parkop has declared today a public holiday.

He admitted that he did not have the power to do so as only Cabinet can gazette and approve a public holiday.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari said this week that only Cabinet could approve a public holiday.

The National
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