Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato confirmed that as of Monday, 29 April, counting officials completed exclusion number 54.
“This leaves seven candidates still remaining in the contest, including petitioner and People’s National Congress Party candidate Noah Kool and sitting Governor Michael Dua of the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party.”
Gamato said the extended deadline given by the Court to complete the recount is Sunday, 6 May, following delays after confrontations between supporters and a security firm in Goroka stopped counting.
“We (PNGEC) are targeting to complete two to three eliminations per day from here on.
“And we have constantly reminded counting officials not to rush and work accurately to avoid errors such as misplacements/ mis-sorts, miscounts and mis-entries of ballot papers during the elimination process.”
Gamato said at the moment, everyone, including election officials, scrutineers, supporters and police, are working together to complete the elimination process and come up with the results before Sunday, 6 May.
A total of 284,068 votes were being counted in this court-ordered judicial recount at the National Sport Institute in Goroka, Eastern Highlands province.
In the 2017 national election, 61 candidates contested the Simbu Provincial seat.
As of April 29th, 54 candidates have been eliminated from the race with only five more exclusions to go before the winning candidate is determined.
“Results of the recount will be returned to the Court of Disputed Returns for verification, further hearing and declaration in Court as it is an election petition matter.”