Number Of Political Parties Growing Before Papua New Guinea Elections

Registrar expects 40 parties likely will register to contest polls

By Malum Nalu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 4, 2017) –The number of political parties increased to 35 as of yesterday, with another five expected to register before the national election, says Registrar of Political Parties Dr Alphonse Gelu.

He told The National yesterday that two parties had paid their K10,000 [US$3,072] registration fees, while three had submitted their applications.

Of the 35 parties, 18 have MPs while 17 do not.

“We will go up to 40 by the time the writs (for national election) are issued (on April 20),” Gelu said.

“It’s a cutback from the 2016 election, where we had 46.”

He expressed concern that these parties had decided to wait until just before the election to register.

“Where are these parties based?” Gelu said.

“Do the people of Papua New Guinea know about these parties?

“We’ve got all sorts of names of these political parties.”

He said the thinking in the registry now was that parties must be formed at least two years before the issue of writs.

“Right now, can you imagine, they’re still running to us and the issue of writs is only three months away,” Gelu said.

“I know that the people of this country don’t even know about these political parties.

“They only know about the existing political parties but not the new political parties that have just registered themselves.”

Gelu had told the three new political parties that wanted to register that they had a big job ahead of them, in particular telling the people about themselves and their policies

He said one of the provisions in the Revised Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates was that parties must have at least K100,000 in their bank accounts.

“There were some initial criticisms about this K100,000 that we were trying to create parties for only the rich,” Gelu said.

“The K100,000 [US$30.720] must be in place because you need the money to run your party.” Gelu said the Revised OLIPPAC also proposed that parties must have at least five MPs or be dissolved.

“We cannot continue to have this one-member or two-member thing,” he said.

“The party system will continue to be weak if we continue to allow this.”

The National
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