Proposal to change election dates a cover-up: Polye

Opposition Leader Don Poyle claims that the legislation to be introduced in Parliament by the National Government to change the dates of the 2017 National Election is a cover-up.

The O’Neill – Dion Government is expected to introduce the first reading to reduce the campaign period from two months to one, when Parliament reconvenes on January 24.

If the Government uses its numerical strength on the floor of Parliament to pass it, the date of the Issue of Writs for the 2017 National Elections on April 20, will be changed to May 20.

“Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is using state institutions for his own personal gain, for the gain of the National People’s Congress (Party), (many) of them are sitting Members of Parliament (and) is not in the best interest of this country, and is not in the best interest of democracy,” Polye said.

“Once the laws are brought before Parliament for its first reading on the 24th January when Parliament sits, it is the first steps to the rigging of the elections,” Polye claimed.

The Opposition Leader added that since Independence it had been a norm for the election issue of writs to be issued between March and April, with two months of campaign period.    

But Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in a statement said the elections will be delivered in an efficient and effective manner right across the country, and appealed to the Opposition to respect Electoral Commission as a Constitutional Office of the nation, and not try to drag it into politics. 

 “The Nation’s Electoral Commission has been preparing for this election since 2012, and I am confident that 2017 elections will take place in a transparent way that will deliver certainty for our people,” O’Neill said.

“We cannot allow the wastage and exorbitant cost that was seen at previous elections to continue.

“The 2017 National Elections will be delivered within budget, in a safe and secure environment and the integrity of this process will be maintained.”

Charles Yapumi