​No set venue for Central counting: Candidates

​Central Province Regional candidates are demanding for the Electoral Commission to secure a central venue for their counting, expected to start next Monday.

At the moment, there is no set venue.

Apparently, the proposition by the Central Province Election Manager is for the first preference counting for CP regional seat be done at respective district counting venues. After that, the boxes will be moved to a central location for elimination process.

This means the preferential counting will be done in four different locations – Abau District at Kupiano station, Rigo at Kwikila, Goilala at the Gordon Police Barracks and Kairuku-Hiri at CIS Bomana.

According to the Election Manager, Kila Egaba, there is possibility that provincial and open ballot papers could be mixed in some of the boxes.

Lone female candidate Rufina Peter says this reason is insignificant and the decision on counting is not sound at all.

"We demand that EC secure a venue where boxes from all 4 districts are brought in and counting done.

“Given all these time for EC to secure a venue and the fact that they have not secured a venue for counting for Central regional seat is unacceptable and incompetent on their part.

“We should not get to this point where the boxes are ready and they don’t have a place to come to," she said.

Peter and three other candidates – Joel Lui Oli, Jonathan O'ata and Hoko Asi Navuru – expressed their concerns at a press conference today.

They said counting for the province has always been in Port Moresby and these changes have raised suspicions.

They also identified a couple of available venues in Port Moresby.

The four candidates will proceed to file a petition and get at least a majority of their fellow candidates to sign and present to the authorities this afternoon.

"If need be, we will proceed to get a court injunction to stop this because it allows room for malfunction during the movement of boxes and it will cost candidates a lot of money to be doing this," she added.

Peter also commended election progress in the province and appealed to locals and scrutineers to maintain it while waiting for word from authorities.

Efforts to reach the election manager were unsuccessful.

Gloria Bauai