Port Moresby Polling Officials Refuse To Count Ballots Until They Are Paid

3,100 workers waiting for $34/day allowances

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 5, 2017) – Counting of votes for the National Capital District has been further delayed as polling officials demand payment before they count.

A total of 3100 polling officials, who will be involved with counting for the three electorates of Moresby Northeast, Moresby South, Moresby Northwest and NCD regional, are waiting for their allowance of K110 [US$34] a day for the three days of counting.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said the Commission has the money available, but as usual, the government system was slow that it takes time for the allowance to be processed on time.

He said half of the officials have received their pay and hope everything would be settled by today for counting to begin tomorrow.

This pay protest and delay have allowed about 15 candidates to seize the opportunity to issue a threat of a sit-in protest by withdrawing their scrutineers if the Electoral Commissioner does not respond to their petition by today.

One of the main petition points was for counting to be conducted only during daytime.

A total of eight petitions for NCD Regional, Moresby Northeast, Jiwaka, Wabag, Ialibu-Pangia, Hela, Goroka, and Manus had been delivered to Mr Gamato.

Some even threatened court injunction, to stop polling, but Mr Gamato said none has gone to court so far.

Meanwhile, Hela Province is the first to start counting yesterday, with People’s National Congress Party candidate James Marape taking a commanding lead when the first five boxes were counted.

PNG Post-Courier
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