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.
He said the proper recourse for complaints about the election is in the Court of Disputed Returns and not on the streets.
“The Commission regrets the disturbances and disruptions to the peace seen during the elections. Any violence related to the polls is unnecessary and harms our democracy and our community,” Commissioner Gamato said.
For the current incident in Hagen, he said election process has been completed and aggrieved parties should take it to court.
The Hagen treasury office was burnt down this week while the Kagamuga airport remains closed.
Commissioner Patilias Gamato has issued circular instructions this week to all provincial election managers to communicate with their officials in the province on the extension of accreditation badges to August 31.
He said in a statement that the extension is to facilitate the continuing work of election observers nationwide.
“I have advised my provincial election managers that if they have any questions or concerns in relation to the work of the Election Observers then they should bring them to my attention immediately.
A frustrated Michael Bandui made this allegation following Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato’s decision to disqualify only one of the five boxes which were tampered with by supporters of a candidate. The incident was captured in a video and posted on Facebook.
Bandui said the evidence is very clear and all the six ballot boxes should be put aside.
The video footage showed supporters of a particular candidate in the North Waghi electorate, filling in their preferences on the ballot papers.