Electoral Commission obligated by law to hold Hela by-election

The vacant Hela regional seat by-election will go ahead once funding and security report is given to the PNG Electoral Commission.

“I have talked to the Police Commissioner to assess the situation on the ground before I can make a decision,” Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said. 

“In the meantime, I have (already) written to the government asking for funding support to conduct the by-election for Hela (Province).

“As soon as the funding is available, I will advise the Governor General to approve dates for the by-election.”

Despite difference in opinion of conducting the provincial governor’s seat following the passing of late governor Anderson Agiru on 28 April 2016, it’s a constitutional obligation for the by-election to be held.

“The vacancy for Hela happened before the 12-month period. The law says 12 months before the return of writs for the 2017 election, if there is vacancy that occurs during that 12 months we cannot conduct the by-election but if it happens before the 12-month period, we are oblige to conduct the by-election,” Gamato said.  

“For Hela’s case, it (happened) before the 12-month period so we can still conduct the Hela by-election. That is my position of the Hela by-election.”

The date for the 2017 National Election return of writs is July 24th.

Charles Yapumi