Gamato recognises Powi amidst concerns

​After three months of waiting, the Electoral Commission has finally accepted the writ for the Southern Highlands Provincial Seat, recognising William Powi as the Governor.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato received the writ on Thursday night at the PNG Electoral Commission headquarters in Port Moresby.

On Thursday, several candidates voiced their concerns and asked for counting to proceed into eliminations to complete the LPV system. They claimed none of the 25 candidates reached the absolute majority after the primary vote counts.

However, just hours after talking to the media, Gamato accepted the writ from the Provincial Returning Officer Steven Gore Kaupa, which automatically recognised incumbent Powi as the duly-elected governor.

A statement from the Commission states that upon legal advice, the Electoral Commissioner applied section 175 of the Organic Law on national elections under special circumstances to use the primary vote count results to confirm the declaration made by the former Provincial Returning Officer Jacob Kurap on Friday, 20th July, at the Momei Oval in Mendi.

The PNGEC statement further states tally calculations from counts 1 to 462 showed and justified that William Powi exceeded the absolute majority, with 91,745 primary vote counts, with the absolute majority set at 86,761.

Running second was Joseph Kobol with 60,131 and on third spot was Jerry Kiwai with 40,411 primary votes.

Meantime, Governor-General Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae, received the writ for the Southern Highlands provincial seat, from deputy Electoral Commissioner John Kalamoroh, on Friday.

Kalamoroh stated that rival candidates who wish to contest the decision of the Electoral Commission can take the matter up with the courts, but for now, he said to allow due process to take its course.

(GG Bob Dadae receiving the writ from deputy Electoral Commissioner John Kalamoroh)

Glenda Popot