Government wants LLG elections to be held separately

The National Executive Council is recommending staging the Local Level Government Elections separately in 2018.

This is so that many of the Ward and Council Presidents can serve their full five year terms.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said this in Parliament today when questioned by Central Governor, Kila Haoda, over several election matters.

One of the issues was the Ward and LLG Elections and whether it would be held concurrently with the National Elections and or separately.

“Mr Speaker it is important that we separate the two elections so that people can have a focus on the National Elections in 2017.”

“We are requesting that we will only conduct elections for Open Members and Governors only.”

However, in September during a political party development workshop, Electoral Commissioner, Patilio Gamato, said the National and the LLG and Ward Elections would be held concurrently.

Governor Haoda also asked O’Neill to confirm that the nomination fee for intending candidates had increased from K1000 to 10, 000, and if the campaign period was slashed from eight weeks to four weeks, and sarcastically joked if it could be reduced to two weeks.

O’Neill said the proposal to increase the nomination fee from K1,000 to K10, 000 for intending candidates in the 2017 National Elections is to assist in funding the elections.

He said it is estimated that 4,000 candidates will contest next years elections and

paying for the election should not be carried by the public themselves but the running candidates as well.

“There’s a proposal before the Electoral Commissioner and if he so wishes that that is acceptable he will propose those changes to parliament and we will approve that increase in Parliament. But Mr Speaker, there is no increase as yet,” said O’Neill.

He further said that Cabinet is recommending the campaign be set at four weeks so that it lowers costs on candidates and the public.

The last change to the campaign period for elections was over 20 years ago and the number of candidates have increased dramatically forcing costs to go up.

Picture credit: Loop PNG File Photo

Cedric Patjole