0211 Nomination Fee increased, Campaign Period reduced

The nomination fee for candidates in the 2017 national election has been increased from the current K1,000 to K10,000 while the campaign period of eight weeks has been reduced by half to four weeks. These are among few legislative changes to election laws that were seriously deliberated on and approved by the National Executive Council (Cabinet).

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says a proposed increase in the nomination fee from K1,000 to K10,000 for the 2017 national election candidates is to help fund the ‘expensive’ exercise.

O’Neill told Parliament on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 that the proposal came up after consultations with many members of Parliament and national leaders.

O’Neill said the general election was a very important exercise which gave the people, once every five years, the opportunity to election their leaders through a transparent and fair election process.

He said the nomination fee was last increased more than 20 years ago when the number of candidates was much smaller.

It is expected than more than 4000 candidates will contest the 111 seats next year.

“This is a substantial increase in the number of candidates and the cost of running the election is very expensive,” O’Neill said.

“It is noticeable that every election is costing more and more because the number of candidates is increasing and the PNG Electoral Commission is required to print every ballot paper with every candidate photo so that every candidate is included.

“As a result, it is every costly exercise.”

“So it is certainly warranted that there must be some increase in the cost of running elections.”

“And that cost must be shared by everyone. I think it’s only fair that it’s not only paid by the public but also by the candidates as well.”

He told Parliament that it had also been suggested that the campaign period be reduced from eight weeks to four weeks.

“This will be helpful to taxpayers and the candidates because it will be cheaper and costs would be reduced.” O’Neill said.

“We have allocated K400 million in the 2017 budget but we anticipate there might be some cost overruns which we all need to pay – including the candidates.”

He was responding to Central Province Governor Kila Haoda who asked in Parliament whether the nomination fee would be increased.




THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER AND ALPHONSE MUAPI

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