Recount for Madang Regional ordered

A recount into ballot papers has been ordered by the National Court for the Madang Regional seat.

The recount order was issued after the court found that James Yali, who was a parolee when he nominated to contest the election, was not eligible.

The court dismissed Yali's petition that was challenging Peter Yama's election today.

Yali’s conviction and sentence would have finished on 18 December 2017. His inclusion in the election affected the results.

He finished second while Retired Defense Force Commander Major-General Jerry Singirok finished third.

The court however upheld Jerry Singirok’s petition and set aside Yama's election, ordering a recount.

Trial judge Justice Terrence Higgins said the Electoral Commission created the situation by accepting Yali's nomination.

He said this is the second time the Electoral Commission accepted a parolee to contest. 

Singirok issued a statement today thanking Yali for working with him in his election petition to achieve today’s court outcome.

He said all final candidates for the elimination of the Madang Regional seat will now have an opportunity to win the seat based on the recount figures and a team from the Electoral Commission that is impartial.

Yama will be seeking leave to review the decision in the Supreme Court.

He said it was Yali who requested for a recount in the National Court and not Singirok.

“Everybody makes errors when they count. It’s a big gap and we ask everyone to come together to let the normal process take its course.

“The outcome of recount is still there,” Yama added.

Yama remains as Governor pending the outcome of the recount. 

Meanwhile he has also appealed to the people to respect the decision.

(Madang Governor Peter Yama speaking to media today)

Sally Pokiton