TIPNG released a statement following the Electoral Commission’s announcement of postponing polling for NCD for a second time on Wednesday 6 July to Friday 8 July.
“It is the PNG Electoral Commission’s constitutional responsibility to deliver the National Elections and the PNGEC must be accountable for its actions, if the country is to avoid a declaration of failed elections, said Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) Board Chair, Peter Aitsi.
He underlined that while the Electoral Commission has primary responsibility, it is shared with candidates and supporters and the public as it is in all of our interest to see safe, fair and successful national elections.
“The last thing anyone in Papua New Guinea wants is a failed election, and so we call on the PNGEC to immediately address the problems being encountered in many electorates. Competent and wise leadership is required within the Commission, now is not the time to point fingers and shift blame.
“TIPNG has been involved at the provincial level in the NCD Provincial Election Steering Committee and has also witnessed the support given by key Government agencies to the Electoral Commission when requested, this has been the case at the national level through the Inter-Departmental Election Committee (IDEC),” said Aitsi.
He said candidates and their scrutineers have a right to raise their grievances to polling officials through the correct processes, however they do not have the right to interfere and stall the election process.
“Furthermore, candidates including incumbent MP’s must exercise more control on their scrutineers as they are individually accountable for their actions. Polling must proceed and followed by counting for 118 electorates within a timeframe of four weeks, there is simple no contingency, so we must all work together to deliver the 2022 National General Elections.”
“We remind all candidates and their supporters not to abuse their rights as candidates to try and stall the delivery of the elections as any further delay will cause our Nation to breach the return of writs deadline as required by the Constitution.
“These candidates and their supporters do themselves and their communities a disservice. It is incumbent on all candidates to demonstrate leadership at this time by upholding the Constitution and ensuring that elections are delivered on time,” said Aitsi.
TIPNG emphasized that the National Constitution and the Organic Law on National and Local Government Elections set the deadline for the return of writs for the majority of seats by no later than the fifth anniversary of the elections and formation of government.
“The PNGEC has publicly stated that this deadline is July 29th 2022, and as such if writs for the majority of the electorates are not returned by then the country risks a constitutional crisis.”