Monday, April 09, 2012

PNG elections to go ahead: commissioner

By Eoin Blackwell, 

AAP Papua New Guinea Correspondent

Papua New Guinea's electoral commissioner says the 2012 poll will go ahead as scheduled, despite last week's controversial vote by parliament to defer it for six months.
Andrew Trawen says he is currently seeking legal advice on the constitutionality of the decision made by parliament on April 5 to defer the elections until October.
"I will proceed to advise the Governor General Sir Michael Ogio to issue writs for the 2012 elections as scheduled on 27th April, 2012," he said in a statement today.
"And I want the people of PNG to know that I have always maintained that the commission is prepared and the 2012 elections will go ahead as planned."
Parliament voted 63 to 11 on Thursday to defer the poll after government MP Waka Goi told the chamber a report from Mr Trawen recommended delaying the poll because of security concerns and an incomplete electoral roll.
Two days after voting for the suspension, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill released a statement saying the report did not recommend delaying the election and he still wanted an early poll.
He also said, however, that some MPs, particularly from the highlands, have expressed deep concerns about the rolls not being ready.
In the statement, Mr O'Neill said a special cabinet meeting would be held on Monday with Mr Trawen in attendance.
The government is expected to report the results of the meeting to parliament on Tuesday.
Mr Trawen said election preparations were on track and the commission was doing its best to prepare and deliver credible electoral rolls for a June 23 poll.
"I must assure voters nationwide that names of as many eligible citizens as possible will be shown on the final rolls that will be used for polling," he said.
He also addressed an election funding shortfall of 60 million kina ($AUD 27.7 million) cited by the government.
"The 180 million kina ($AUD 86.2 million) appropriated by parliament is not sufficient to adequately and properly conduct the 2012 elections ... regarded as the most crucial elections in the history of PNG," he said.
"I have directed my Finance Director to resubmit the shortfall bid of K60 million to the Department of Treasury for consideration in the monthly budgetary reviews."
Mr Trawen has consistently rejected comments from deputy PM Belden Namah and Speaker Jeffery Nape that parliament has the power to defer elections.
Critics of the move say PNG's 36-year-old constitution spells out strict five-year parliamentary terms and gives MPs the power to call early elections, but not defer them.
The police and military have also said they were ready for the elections, Mr Trawen said.
The move to delay the elections has prompted an outcry in PNG.
Former prime minister Sir Michael Somare and former attorney general Sir Arnold Amet say the move is blatantly unconstitutional.
"No parliament since independence has used its numbers to buy more time in office than these desperate 63 members of parliament who voted for the deferral of the elections," Sir Michael said.
"The elections must go ahead as scheduled in accordance with our noble constitution.
"The electoral commission always sets the date for the writs to be issued."
Students, former soldiers and trade unionists are planning a protest against the deferral in Port Moresby tomorrow.


  1. Anonymous4:55 PM

    What a Yoyo government no maturity at all. Banch of kindie kids who can't make up their minds.


  2. Anonymous6:57 PM

    Peter O'Neil's Government is the worst in PNG history. They've made Somare look like a saint!


  3. Anonymous8:05 PM

    There some good members in the current but there are some non sense ones like the deputy prime minister. He is a complete disgrace to png.
    I dont know what his highest level of education is to manage a country apart from being a soldier. From the numerous blunders he's been making it shows clearly he doesnt know what he is doing or been advised by some stupid advisors like himself.

    Mangi PS

  4. Anonymous8:53 PM

    Very true the deputy PM of PNG is a complete non sense. Dont know why he was elected to this post in the first place _ he is a first timer in politics. I doubt he knows the government business. The poor guy is only a simple soldier who did not even hold some high ranks in the force apart from his mutiny act in the sandline crisis. He is acting like a dictator in his actions and i am sure come the general elections and he wont have his second chance.

    Concerned pngean - overseas

  5. Anonymous9:48 PM

    If the Election goes ahead as planned while there are outstanding administrative matters yet to be resolved, and more problems are encountered during the election process, who should we blame? Will we put the blame on the Government and the Electoral Commission for allowing the election to go ahead while knowing that they were not ready? If security problems arise, will the protesters, including the university students take it on themselves to solve the problems or will they blame the government for allowing the election to go ahead without being really ready. Who is reasonable and respnsible enough to do the right thing? Is the public aware of the implications of their actions.