Parliament resumes today

Parliament will resume today at 2pm for its January session.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neil said the session will focus on the first readings of the electoral legislations to increase the nomination fees and decreasing the campaign period from eight to four weeks.

O’Neill made the announcement on Monday at the inaugural National Press Club in Port Moresby.

Other bills to be tabled include ICAC and Ombudsman, as well as others.

The parliament will then be adjourned for its last session in March and then recess for the 2017 National elections until the formation of the new government in September.

O’Neill told Parliament in August last year that the election cost is increasing yearly and the PNG Electoral Commission must find a way to help subsidize the cost.

He said increasing the nomination fees for candidates is an area the government is looking into.   

“One way we can do that is increase the nomination fees, I think K1,000 for national elections is a bit too low. That money does not come to consolidated revenue, it goes straight into the EC account to meet some costs of running the elections in the country. 

However, the Opposition has indicated that it is set to challenge the government’s proposal to increase the nomination fee from K1000 to K10,000 if this bill is passed in parliament.

Opposition Leader, Don Polye said they would take the matter to the Supreme Court if the government uses its numerical strength to bulldoze the bill through in Parliament.

Meanwhile, the theme of the elections in 2017 is "Your choice, protect our democracy".

The issue of Writs and Nomination will open on Thursday, 20th April, 2017 and will close on April 27, with polling to start on June 24th and end on July 8th.

Return of Writs will be on or before July 24th while the LLG Election, the return of Writs is August 7th.

The nomination period is seven days, from April 20 to 27, campaigning eight weeks from 20th April to July 8th and the polling period is 14 days, from June 24th to July 8th.

Freddy Mou