By ZACHERY PER
ONE of two female contenders running in the Kundiawa-Gembogl by-election was eliminated yesterday, The National reports.
Independent candidate Christina Num Nulai, who polled 13 primary votes, was eliminated and her second preferences were distributed among 42 other candidates.
The other female candidate, Susan Dua Dingi, is still in the race with 93 first preference votes.
William Gumane, who picked 13 votes in the first count, was also eliminated.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's People's National Congress candidate Peter Waieng maintained a comfortable lead yesterday with 6, 583 votes a difference of 1,629 votes with nearest rival and former agriculture minister Mathew Siune on 4,957 votes.
Running third was Constitutional Democratic Party candidate Tobias Kulang on 4,034 votes. In fourth place was former Kundiawa-Gembogl MP Wagi Merimba with 3,726 votes.
People's Party candidate Paul Gende is in fifth place with 3,571 votes. A total of 51,643 ballots were distributed among the candidates after the eliminations yesterday.
The absolute majority was set at 25,822 and the eliminations will continue today.
Chimbu provincial elections manager Steven Gore Kaupa applauded the excellent efforts of counting officials under the guidance of returning officer James Piapia and staff from the PNG Electoral Commission.
He commended them for the successful completion of first reference counts and urged them to continue the good work in the second and third preference counts.
In a written message to the Kundiawa Lutheran Day counting centre, Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen commended the counting officials and their coordinators for the excellent execution of the counting progress, especially in completing the first counts.
Trawen also praised party officials and members of the police mobile squad 07 from Mt Hagen and squad 08 from Kerowagi for providing security during the polling and counting