2212 International and domestic election observers for 2017

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has written to the national government requesting for the engagement of international election observer Missions to observe the conduct of 2017 national elections. He made the official request in a letter dated December 9, 2016 to the Prime Minister Peter O'Neil who is also the Minister responsible for the Electoral Commission.

​International Election Observer Missions ​Mr. Gamato recommended the government to invite in 2017 include the Commonwealth Secretary General in London, United Kingdom; Secretary General for Melanesian Spearhead Group in Port Vila, Vanuatu; and the Secretary General for the Pacific Islands Forum in Suva, Fiji.

He will write separately to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Transparency International (PNG), UPNG, IDEA and Development Partners as well as the National Research Institute (NRI) to plan their observation teams for 2017 elections.

The Electoral Commissioner made the request after the matter was raised in meetings by various stakeholders - the Inter-Departmental Election Steering Committee, Donor's Steering Committee and several Development Partners.

​Mr. Gamato said he has given a thorough consideration and recommended as a good gesture on the part of government to invite both international and domestic election observers to pay visits to parts of the country to independently asses and report on the credibility of the election process to the government and ​PNGEC.

PNG has had Commonwealth Observer Missions going back to 1997, 2002, 2007 and last in the 2012 national elections.

"​Observations by International Election Observer Missions will be guided by an internationally accepted code of conduct which will cover their respect for PNG's sovereignty, laws and authority of the election management body - PNGEC."

"At all time, they (international observers) will be reminded to maintain strict political impartiality and not to obstruct the 2017 election process during the course of their observations."

"Proper personal conduct and pledge to follow the code of conduct will be monitored by PNGEC," Gamato said.

He added that each member or group will be accorded proper accreditation and warned to maintain accuracy of observation and professionalism in drawing conclusions.

"Genuine democratic elections are an expression of sovereignty which belongs to the people of PNG and the free expression of their will at an election process provides for the basis for the authority and legitimacy of government."

"The election process serves to resolve peacefully the competition for political power. It  is vital and central to maintaining peace and stability."

Media Consultant

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