“The department (through the Solicitor General) has advised that the order that was given by the Supreme Court was against the Electoral Commissioner however, the authority to issue the writ is vested by the organic law upon the Minister for Provincial and Local level Government Affairs,” Attorney General Manase said in Port Moresby.
“So last week Thursday, in accordance with the Constitutional process, Minister for Provincial Affairs, who is vested with the authority to issue the writ, had already issued the writ, and the writ is in force,” he added.
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.
Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato confirmed that containers containing ballot boxes for the Simbu Provincial seat arrived in Goroka yesterday morning.
“The containers were successfully retrieved from Kundiawa after some minor resistance and were transported safely to Goroka in Eastern Highlands with the support of police mobile units from Mt. Hagen,” Gamato said.
He made the recommendation in his advice to the Minister last Thursday, 26 April, in Port Moresby.
This follows the receipt of three written legal opinions on the subject from the Acting Secretary for Justice & Attorney General, Dr. Lawrence Kalinoe, State Solicitor Daniel Rolpagarea and the Secretary for Constitutional & Law Reform Commission, Dr. Eric Kwa.