Simbu recount set for today

The judicial recount for Simbu Provincial seat should start today (February 21, 2019) after much delay due to issues surrounding the venue.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato confirmed that containers containing ballot boxes for the Simbu Provincial seat arrived in Goroka yesterday morning.

“The containers were successfully retrieved from Kundiawa after some minor resistance and were transported safely to Goroka in Eastern Highlands with the support of police mobile units from Mt. Hagen,” Gamato said.

“Training of counting officials on electronic verification of ballot papers has been completed and the recount venue at National Sport Institution facilities in Goroka is all set for the Returning Officer Kila Ralai to commence the recount today.”

Gamato gave assurance that the Simbu judicial recount was a completely different activity apart from the Goroka Open election petition matter and interested parties should not worry.

He was responding to comments by Simbu Governor Michael Dua in the media expressing concerns over the recount being conducted in Goroka whilst the National Court has ordered a by-election for Goroka Open.

“Electoral Commission has joined in filing an appeal in the Supreme Court for the high court do a judicial review of the National Court’s decision on February 7, 2019 ordering a by-election for Goroka Open.

“Until such time the Supreme Court determines the appeal, a by-election for Goroka Open would not be conducted as ordered by the National Court.”

Meanwhile, PNGEC will join in filing an appeal in the Supreme Court on grounds of breach of natural justice against National Court decision regarding the Southern Highlands Provincial seat matter (EP # 79).

Press release