Stanley Liria, who filed a reference in the Supreme Court, on the legality of polling conducted on Sunday in the electorate, in Southern Highlands Province, will no longer be pursuing it in court.
This reference which was filed on July 10, questioning the legality of polling that was conducted on Sunday, July 2, after it was deferred from Friday, June 30, has been withdrawn.
In the reference, the high court was asked to interpret section 130 of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government elections.
But lawyers representing Liria yesterday asked the Supreme Court to have the entire proceeding withdrawn.
The withdrawal comes amidst chaos in Mendi town, the provincial capital of the Southern Highlands Province, following the declaration of its provincial seat to incumbent MP, William Powi.
Liria in a statement said the petition has been withdrawn in the interests of peace, national unity and development.
In recent weeks, election-related violence has seen supporters clash from Kauwo and Peri in Pangia, resulting in the death of Ivan Yakixs Pumbu, more than thirty others seriously injured, as well as substantial damage to property.
“The recent escalation of violence in the Southern Highlands is tragic, unprecedented and must come to an end. While my supporters have called on me to challenge the election result, I can no longer stand by while innocent people die, are seriously injured and live in fear across the region. The violence and tensions must end.
“Whilst I appreciate the support of many, including my legal team, Greg Egan QC, Dudley Yariyari, Robert Doko, Partners of DTY lawyers for all their professionalism and support, I will now withdraw my action in the court of disputed returns and the Constitutional reference on Sunday polling, calling on my supporters to join me in accepting the result and return peace to our region.
“The people of Ialibu-Pangia are a peaceful and respectful community, and this election related violence is a first for the area. Given the current situation, it is very much up to our leaders to make a stand, act responsibly, lead by example and call for calm,”Liria said.
“We raise our hands to serve our people, it is time we demonstrate what we stand for and call for unity and allow peace.
“I ask all losing candidates to similarly lead by example, calling for calm, the end of violence, and respect for the rule of law – the responsibility is ours to lead by example.
“The current tensions are serving no-one’s interests – we must peacefully allow our elected members and administrators to set about to doing their job and effectively serve us,” Liria added.