Watchdog queries deferral of LLG elections

Constitutional questions are being raised by the Ombudsman Commission, through a special constitutional reference in the Supreme Court, on the deferral of the LLG elections for more than three months.

The Ombudsman Commission filed the special constitutional reference in the Supreme Court to find out whether section 34 of the Organic Law on the Provincial and Local Level Government, allows for a deferral of the LLG elections to more than three months. This is after the date of the return of writs for the National General election.

It also wants the court to find out whether an aggrieved person can utilise section 23 of the constitution, to compel the Electoral Commissioner to immediately conduct the LLG elections in compliance with his constitutional duty, if the deferral of the LLG elections beyond three months is unconstitutional.

The reason for the LLG election deferral, due to lack of funding, is also being questioned through this Supreme Court reference.

The Ombudsman Commission in a statement said it realises the importance of elections at all levels of government as a central pillar of democracy in PNG.

Following the 2012 and 2017 National General Elections, there have been deferral of LLG elections. Both instances for more than three months.

K70 million outstanding allowance was owed to ward councilors and presidents throughout the country.

LLG elections have been set between April and May 2019, but the Ombudsman Commission is concerned about the possibility of it being repeated in the future and wishes to avoid that.

It has written to the Department of Provincial Affairs and the Electoral Commission on 3 September 2018 for details of a gazettal for the deferral, however has not yet received any response from them.

Press release