Hagen Open petition proceeds to trial

The election petition disputing William Duma’s win as Hagen Open MP will proceed to trial in the National Court.

Justice David Cannings today dismissed six grounds of the petition because they were incompetent. However, he allowed the petition to proceed to trial on one main ground.

The petition, filed by James Puk, was grounded on seven main points; five relating to alleged illegal practices committed by supporters of Duma, including agents and servants of the Electoral Commission, while two grounds alleged errors and omission by electoral officers. 

The National Court today gave its ruling on two objection motions, filed by the Electoral Commission and William Duma, challenging the competency of the petition.

Justice Cannings allowed only one ground to proceed to trial. This relates to the alleged errors and omissions by Electoral Commission officials, which resulted in 18,803 lawfully cast ballot papers or 28 ballot boxes not counted.

The non-inclusion of these 28 ballot boxes also saw the closure of the Kagamuga airport by locals in Hagen in protest of the Electoral Commission’s decision.

A trial date and venue will be set by the court for the Hagen Open petition trial.

Puk’s petition is seeking a declaration that Duma’s election be voided and an order be made for either a by-election or a recount.

(Puk and supporters with lawyer)

Sally Pokiton