Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato

Kandep judicial recount to be in POM

Gamato explained that he has decided to move the recount for Kandep to Port Moresby due to security reasons, based on experience from the 2009 Kandep by-election and again in the 2016 Kandep judicial recount.

“To conduct the Kandep judicial recount anywhere in the Highlands is not safe as the counting venue is easily accessible by disgruntled supporters,” he stressed.

“The Electoral Commission wants a free and safe recount; therefore, I’m using my powers as Commissioner to move the Kandep Open ballot boxes to Port Moresby.”

Elections to proceed for Kandep Rural

In a previous statement, Gamato said due to unresolved legal issues surrounding the wards in Kandep Rural LLG, he would hold back the writs until when the matter is cleared by the Court.

But legal advice received today gave greenlight to the Commission to conduct elections for the 36 council wards.

LLG election nominations open today

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says all 20 provincial electoral officials nationwide will start accepting nominations starting at 4pm.

“Nomination fee is K200 and intending candidates are encouraged to call into any of the designated nomination venues in your respective provinces and districts to nominate and contest,” said Gamato.

“All nomination fees must be paid through any Bank South Pacific (BSP) outlet as no cash payments will be accepted for security reasons.”

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.