AG Seeks Interpretation From High Court

Papua New Guinea’s high court has reserved its decision to a later date on a matter seeking clarification on the eligibility of convicts to contest the National General Elections.

The special reference filed by Attorney General Pila Niningi through the Solicitor General Tauvasa Tanuvasa went before a full Supreme Court bench this morning, headed by Acting Chief Justice Les Gavara-Nanu.

Under the Special Reference, Mr. Tanuvasa relied on Section 50 (1) of the Constitution on the Right to vote and stand for public office and Section 103 of the Constitution on the Qualification for and Disqualification to stand for office.

Among points raised for clarification, the Solicitor General is seeking interpretation on whether a person who has been convicted of an indictable offence can be disqualified under section 103 of the Constitution and whether a person who was convicted for committing an offence after the amendments to the Electoral Reforms on June 25th, 2022 can still stand for elections.

The issue on the eligibility of convicted individuals contesting the National General Elections has prompted the public to raise concerns and to uphold integrity in any public office.

A number of convicted individuals are also contesting this Election.

The four interveners in this matter includes; Public Solicitor, Speaker of the National Parliament, Electoral Commissioner and the Public Prosecutor.

Jemimah Sukbat