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.
Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato received the writ on Thursday night at the PNG Electoral Commission headquarters in Port Moresby.
On Thursday, several candidates voiced their concerns and asked for counting to proceed into eliminations to complete the LPV system. They claimed none of the 25 candidates reached the absolute majority after the primary vote counts.
However, just hours after talking to the media, Gamato accepted the writ from the Provincial Returning Officer Steven Gore Kaupa, which automatically recognised incumbent Powi as the duly-elected governor.
“Section 81(3) of the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections gives the power to the Electoral Commissioner to make or allow extension.”
Gamato was responding to calls on him to declare the Southern Highlands Provincial Seat elections as “failed” and for supplementary elections to be held since counting hasn’t been completed after the first sitting of the new Parliament three weeks ago.
He explained that counting for the Southern Highlands Provincial Seat was recently ordered by Court to be conducted in Mt. Hagen.