Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says this is to give the immediate family, relatives and friends of the late Member Thomas Pelika adequate time to mourn his death and fulfill customary obligations.
“An adequate timeline between one to three months is often allowed for the family and friends to pay respects and undertake traditional obligations before nominations are formally called to commence the electoral process,” stated Gamato.
“We (PNGEC) are looking at the end of January 2020 to have the writ issued by the Governor General to commence the electoral process and have it concluded by mid-March 2020.
“By mid-March, the people of Menyamya should have a new MP in Parliament in place of the late Thomas Pelika who, unfortunately, died as result of a severe stroke.”
Gamato said PNGEC is obliged under section 104(2)(g) of the Constitution and section 74 of the Organic Law on National Election (OLNE) to conduct a by-election as soon as practicable when the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant upon the death of an MP.
During this period of mourning, the Commission would prepare for the by-election which includes securing of funds, ensuring credibility of the electoral roll, training of temporary electoral workers and restocking of necessary election materials.
Commissioner Gamato described the late Pelika as a person of great standing in Menyamya district, Morobe Province and PNG and rightly deserves to be accorded with due respect for his services whilst in Parliament.