17 provinces commence polling

A total of 17 out of the 22 provinces in the country have commenced the polling process, says PNG Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.

Most of the delays around the country have been due to issues of missing names on the electoral rolls, security, outstanding service providers’ costs, disagreements with election presiding officials and movement of materials due to bad weather for those rural areas.

He said these when giving an update on the progress of polling in the provinces, since Saturday, from across the country.

In the New Guinea Islands region, all five provinces started on Saturday except for New Ireland, which commenced polling on Monday, and Bougainville.

In the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, polling has started in North Bougainville.

Gamato said Central and South Bougainville have not started due to electoral roll issues and outstanding claims from service providers from 2012.

Polling in New Ireland started on Monday and there have also been reported issues raised with the electoral rolls; most claim their names are not on the rolls.

This has prompted Commissioner Gamato to allow the use of the preliminary roll around the country in areas where names of eligible voters are not on the roll.

“For East New Britain Province, Pomio started on Monday. Gazelle, Rabaul and Kokopo started on Saturday. Their only issue was fuel for the teams, which has been managed,” Gamato said.

Polling in Manus started on Saturday despite issues raised with the electoral roll.

Commissioner Gamato has also allowed for Western Manus islanders of Awa-Wuvulu and Nigoherm LLGs to cast their votes in Lorengau.

Polling in the West New Britain Province started on Saturday, is progressing and is expected to finish on July 3.

Sally Pokiton