Dr Marat asks PM to explain appointment of poll officials

The allegation that the National Executive Council was involved in the appointment of election managers and returning officers is another false illusion by the Opposition.

This was the response by Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, to a Question without Notice from the Opposition in yesterday’s (Tuesday) Parliament sitting.

Rabaul MP and Shadow Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Dr Allan Marat, asked O’Neill to explain rumours that the NEC had input in the appointments.

“Can you explain the information that is going around that Cabinet has caused gazettal of a list of returning officers for the country, that has never had any input at all from all the stakeholders from the provinces and the Electoral Commission?” queried Marat.

In response, O’Neill quickly questioned the credibility of the information received by the Opposition to use against the Government.

“The danger about leaders being in gossip and speculation in Parliament without facts are quite concerning, Mr Speaker,” said O’Neill.

“The Electoral Commission must be allowed to do its independent job, that’s what it’s been tasked by the Constitution to do so. There is no interference from anyone, including Cabinet, (and) including this parliament.”

O’Neill further added that there is no single document in Cabinet to suggest they approved any appointments and that there was a transparent process in place.

The Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, announced recently in a political party development workshop that all Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers have been appointed on September 12 and have been gazetted.

Gamato said he will not entertain any disputes to the appointments as there is not enough time left.

Cedric Patjole