Elections Almost Done: Sinai

The Electoral Commission has thanked all electoral officials across the country for a tremendous job and returning majority of the writs in time for the 11th Parliament.

Electoral Commissioner, Simon Sinai said about 109 Writs were returned after counting for Provincial and Open electorates were completed in many parts of the country.

He thanked all election officials for doing a tremendous job under difficult circumstances, particularly in the Highlands region in making sure that counting was completed and winners declared.

The Commissioner urged electoral officials in those electorates that are still counting to speed up and complete counting before Monday 15 August and have the remaining Writs returned

"While I have returned majority of the Writs, last Friday to the Governor General, the remainder will follow as they are received by the Commission. This is provided for under the legal framework, and I will invoke Section 81 (3) of the Electoral Law to extend the date for the date of the return of the Writs for those specific provincial and open electorates," he said.

Sinai appealed to all leaders, political parties, candidates and scrutineers, and their supporters to respect the electoral process and allow counting to progress until the remaining seats are declared.

The Electoral Commissioner also clarified the position of the Commission on the declarations he made for Markaham and Kabwum under the Special Circumstances provision of the Organic Law.

He said the decision to declare the leading candidates of the two electorates following burning of ballot papers and destruction of the counting centres and property was made after careful consideration.

"This decision was not taken lightly. Wider consultation was required and I had consult my lawyers and seek legal advice and sit with my senior management team, the provincial election manager and respective Returning Officers for the affected electorates before we took a decision to accept the Writs for Markaham and Kabwum," he said.

The Commissioner said the destruction of ballot papers and the counting centres were pre-planned to sabotage the electoral process by disgruntled candidates and their supporters particularly to disturb and deny the leading candidates from winning.

"The Commission took the view that to conduct a supplementary or a by election in these two electorates would mean the Commission is now surrendering its powers and authority to criminal elements to disturb counting processes at any time and with the intention to call for a by election.

“These incidents are first of its kind in PNG and decision we take now as the election management body must serve as a deterrent so such is not repeated in the future,” he said.

Press Release