All Polling In PNG Election Should End By Next Saturday: Commissioner

Counting must start by July 10

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 5, 2017) – All polling should end on Saturday, July 8, and most provinces to start counting on Monday, July 10, Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said yesterday.

Counting has started in nine electorates, Hela yesterday, Chimbu today, National Capital District tomorrow and Eastern Highlands on Friday, July 7.

Milne Bay, East New Britain, Manus and New Ireland will start counting on Saturday. West New Britain will start counting on Sunday, while Goilala, Central province, will complete polling tomorrow and counting is scheduled for Monday. Polling in Southern Highlands is completed in Mendi, Ialibu-Pangia, Nipa-Kutubu and Kagua-Erave and counting should start on Friday, July 7.

Jiwaka went to polls yesterday, while Enga and Western Highlands, are preparing for polling tomorrow. Mr Gamato said polling is continuing in 38 electorates in the country, and the majority is expected to finish in accordance with the gazettal notice.

[PIR editor's note: On July 5, 2017 Asia Pacific Report reported that 'Polling in Enga has been deferred until tomorrow as more disruptions have hit the Papua New Guinea general election. ... The polling was due to go ahead yesterday but grievances being raised by the majority of open and regional candidates in Enga and electoral roll problems have sparked a delay. ... Pre-counting in Enga has been disrupted in the provincial capital of Wabag following unfavorable responses to demands presented to the Election Manager Anton Yamau in a petition signed by majority of candidates — all except those loyal to the People’s National Congress (PNC) government led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.']

In the Momase region, 101 teams of 143 in total have completed polling. In East Sepik, 42 teams have not completed their polling, while in West Sepik, Aitape-Lumi should be complete by today, Vanimo-Green, Nuku and Telefomin should all be completed by Friday.

Mr Gamato said that in Madang, all polling teams are expected to finish end of this week, especially in Usino-Bundi district where there had been few complaints about increase in security personnel at polling locations due to queries about ballot papers. Middle Ramu District’s Kovon LLG needed additional security personnel, he said, adding that for Madang urban level government, returning officer Joe Sakipa had added half-day polling for workers to take time off to vote.

The extension of polling was to allow for seven teams out of 24 teams which were schedule for yesterday’s one-day polling.

Election in most areas have progressed well in Central, East Sepik, Enga, Madang, Milne Bay, Morobe, New Ireland, Northern, West Sepik, Western, Western Highlands, Gulf and Bougainville as of yesterday.

Counting venues for Central province will be Abau, Kupiano, Goilala, Gordon police station gymnasium, Kairuku-Hiri, Bomana Correctional Services and the provincial yet to be determined.

PNG Post-Courier
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