Patience wears thin on NCD Regional count

Counting for the NCD Regional seat will resume later this afternoon after it was suspended on Sunday.

NCD which was one of the first province to poll in the first week of July is yet to declare a winner for the regional seat.

Election Manager Kila Ralai refused to comment on the delay of counting for the Regional seat today after this newsroom visited the Rita Flynn-counting venue.

Counting officials were seen moving into the Rita-Flynn counting centre at 3pm.

It is understood counting is still in its quality check stage.

Outside the Rita Flynn gate, a notice issued by Mr. Ralai to all scrutineers and counting officials read;

“Only two scrutineers per candidates for Top eight (8) contending candidates. After Quality Check only one scrutineer representing a candidate will be allowed in the count centre. Scrutineers are not allowed to talk to counting officials during the scrutiny process and exchange biros”.

Also today, candidates, Andy Bawa, Michael Kandiu and Fred Yakasa were barred from entering the Electoral Commission head office.

The candidates petitioned Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai last week to dismiss Mr. Ralai, alleging he is comprising his position as election manager and for suspending counting for unspecific reasons.

Also on Thursday last week, incumbent Governor Powes Parkop sought an interim order against Metropolitan Superintendent Gideon Ikumu and NCD Election Commander Martin Kelie for directly interfering with the counting process which has resulted in the delay of counting.

With another week extended for the return of writs for NCD, Chimbu and Southern Highlands Regional seats under special circumstances, it is hoped the respective seats will be declared by Friday, August 26th.

Jemimah Sukbat