LLG elections stayed

The Supreme Court has granted an interim order to stop the Electoral Commission from issuing any writs for the Local Level Government elections.

The Electoral Commission has been stayed from issuing the LLG writs and conducting the elections until the question referred to the Supreme Court, regarding the delay in the 2012 and 2017 LLG elections, are determined.  

The ruling was handed down in court an hour after Minister for Inter-Government Relations, Kevin Isifu, officially signed the writs for the LLG elections today in Port Moresby.

Nominations and campaign were to commence at 4pm today.

The stay was granted after an urgent application was moved in court yesterday by the Umi/Atzera LLG in Markham and the East Sepik Provincial Government.

The stay application was supported by the Ombudsman Commission.

The OC earlier filed the reference, seeking the court’s interpretation of questions it put surrounding the deferral of the 2012 and 2017 LLG elections. It alleged the deferral of more than three months is unconstitutional.

While those questions are yet to be determined by the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika was of the view the balance of convenience favoured a grant of stay.  

If the Electoral Commission went ahead with the LLG elections and the Supreme Court later rules the past deferral was invalid, it would be a waste of resources as LLG elections will be declared null and void.

Sir Gibbs said the questions raised in the reference are serious as LLGs are an important part of Government structure in the scheme of good governance.

The Chief Justice wants to progress the substantive hearing quickly as it is important.

The reference will return to court on May 10. 

Sally Pokiton