New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan questioned the government’s proposal to increase the nomination fee, from K1000 to K10,000, during a media conference on Friday.
“What is the average income of Papua New Guinea? Is it K10,000?
“If you say that the average income is K4000 or K5000 then we are wiping out these people completely.
“When the masses are below an average income, and if you put it too high, then you are robbing them of an opportunity,” says Sir J.
“Every one of us, poor or rich, weak or strong, is guided by the Constitution; the guaranteed right of the constitution.”
Sir Julius says the raising of the nomination fee is preventing the people from exercising their guaranteed rights under the constitution.
“Do we want to be like America, where only Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton can stand for elections?”
The Governor’s statements follow Transparency International PNG’s (TIPNG) recent warning on proposed legislative changes to election laws.
TIPNG says the democratic rights of all Papua New Guineans will be damaged if these changes are enacted by Parliament.
“The laws of PNG must not be available only to those with cash. We must protect the rights of all citizens regardless of their access to cash.
“The right to stand for public office is enshrined in Section 50 of the National Constitution and should be protected so as to ensure equal participation in our democracy.”