Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato announced this today following approval of the extension by the Minister for Inter-Government Relations Pila Ningi upon advice from the Electoral Commission.
“As of 10.00am this morning I have written to the Minister for Inter-Government Relations, Pila Niningi advising him to extend the date for the return of writs for the 2019 LLG elections to next week Friday, 2 August 2019.”
Ward electorate writs for the 6,369 wards nationwide was to have been returned to the Minister for Inter-Government Relations Pila Niningi today, Friday 26 July 2019.
Mr. Gamato said that the extension was expected as only 30 percent of the results have been received by his office at the headquarters in Port Moresby as of yesterday, Thursday 25 July 2019.
“Writs were issued for individual wards and I would like to see more writs come to me so that I can return them writs to the Minister for Inter-Government Relations. I’m expecting more writs to be return to me over the weekend and in the coming days.
“Most original ward electorate writs have not been received due to the shortened polling and counting period over six (6) days which was proven to be difficult to work within realistically.”
Mr. Gamato said that the extension seven days extension is in accordance with Section 271 of the Organic Law on National and LLG Elections, and also in compliance with the provisions of Section 34 of the Organic Law on Provincial and Local-Level Governments.”
He explained that the date of return of writs as per provisions of Section 278 of the Election Law is that the writs shall be returned within 21 days after the end of polling.
“Many provincial operations were delayed for reasons beyond our control such as bad weather conditions and very inadequate and untimely processing of funds for the provinces as highlighted in field reports.”
Mr. Gamato said that the geographical challenges of remote communities have inevitably impeded PNGEC’s efforts to keep within the set dates.
“Outstanding payments from past elections have also been an issue with officials engaged.”
“Some violence in Jiwaka and Enga has also delayed polling and counting in these two provinces.”
The Electoral Commission outlines the status report on the progress of polling and counting as follows:
- Only Manus province has completed its LLG election and has returned the writs today, Friday, 26 July 2019.
- Hela, Western Highlands and Southern Highlands are continuing with their counting and are expected to declare final results.
- Polling and counting are still continuing in West Sepik, East Sepik, Madang, Morobe, Northern, Milne Bay, Central, Gulf, Western, East New Britain and West New Britain, New Ireland, Enga, Jiwaka, Chimbu and Eastern Highlands.
Mr. Gamato said that in the light of these circumstances and the current status of the LLG elections PNGEC was not likely to return majority of the writs today, Friday, 26 July 2019.
“Poling and counting period is now extended to Thursday, 1 August 2019 with the return of writs on Friday, 2 August 2019.”
The extension period will be gazetted.