Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato

Gamato welcomes court decision

The Supreme Court bench comprising of three judges unanimously ruled in favour of PNG Electoral Commission and its application to have the Supreme Court orders of 25 April 2019 set aside.

In welcoming the decision, Gamato said he would propose new dates for the LLG elections next week for the Minister for Inter-Government Relations to approve for gazettal.

State advises EC to proceed with LLG elections

“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.

Simbu judicial recount nears conclusion

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.

Simbu recount set for today

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.

Funds used, recount yet to start

The recount has been put off, while the Electoral Commission and Police are in discussion over the recount location, taking security into account.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato, told this newsroom from Lae, the National Court’s order was to have the recount conducted outside Simbu.

He said he will be in breach of a court order if the recount takes place in Simbu, adding Police will have to understand and comply with the court order.

Gamato responds to Simbu protesters

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato is standing by his decision as he says Lae is a neutral ground for the recount to take place.

The Commissioner said the recount venue was challenged by Simbu Governor, Michael Dua, in court.

“The court dismissed his application, so counting will still proceed in Lae as neutral ground,” Gamato said in response to this newsroom.

Directives issued to Electoral Commission

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato delivered this to provincial election bosses at the Electoral Commission’s 3rd National Workshop in Port Moresby.

It has been established that the elections for the Local Level Governments will take place next April.

Among the directives, is that the 2018 LLG election budget of K100 million be revoked and a new budget be set.

The decision from the NEC to reinstate funding for LLG elections is so the budget for 2018 will be removed and according to the decision, K150 million be budgeted for the LLG elections.

Defer LLG polls, recommends Gamato

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.

2018 LLG elections program announced

The 2018 LLG Elections program is as follows:

 

Issue of Writs & Nominations Open:               Thursday, 26 July, 2018

Close of Nominations:                                         Wednesday, 1 August, 2018

Start of Polling:                                                     Monday, 20 August, 2018

End of Polling:                                                        Monday, 3 September, 2018

Electoral roll update to be decentralised

The decision to decentralise the electoral roll follows post-election evaluation undertaken by the Electoral Commission.

The post-election evaluation identified some of the challenges and issues the Commission went through in hosting the 2017 National General Elections.

Key recommendations from local and international observers were also considered, prompting the Commission to decentralise the updating of the electoral roll to the provincial level.