0707 Election Update Statement dated Friday 7 July 2017

In today’s Media Conference, I want to give you some progressive updates on polling across PNG during the 2017 National Election. Today, I want to address on the media three issues which include Progress of Polling, Progress on Counting and Request for Extension of Polling Dates

PROGRESS OF POLLING
Polling across the country is progress well according to the gazettal notice and are near completion.  Individual details of progress of polling will be given to you.

Most electorates have completed polling, and pre-counting checks are underway. In ​three provinces, counting in their respective electorates has started.  They are; Hela, Chimbu and NCD. Other electorates will follow suit when they are ready by this weekend.

Polling is delayed some LLG wards, like in Western, Gulf, Western Highlands and Enga.  Western Highland and Enga have actually started polling now in some parts.

Let me remind the country that counting under the LPV system takes a while but we will manage that and try and get the result out as soon as possible.

As you know, polling is scheduled to end tomorrow, Saturday 8 July July. There is a still a risk that some places may not be ready, and they are likely to be given an extension.

I will give extension to those wards within the electorates who are facing difficulties to poll and complete as long as we are still within the Polling and Counting periods.

Election process is moving forward. Counting has started in more than 10 per cent of areas now and will get going in earliest next week.

I am also pleased to announce that a dedicated website for preliminary results of the 2017 election has gone live.   It is available here: http://results.pngec.gov.pg.

But let me stress, that until writs have been returned, all results are progressive and provisional. Results will not be considered official until the signing and returning of the writs.

The new, interactive website is part of PNGEC’s commitment to improve and modernize our results system.

It is part of our commitment to increase the transparency and efficiency of the election.
Results will be published there and in our Media Centre until the writs are returned on July 24.

All Counting Centers will use computer tablets to record and transmit results via scanned copies of official results forms to the PNGEC. Counting officials will use the tablets in addition to the manual process involving the results forms.

The results will then be verified by the PNGEC using an online verification system. This will compare results with polling data, including the number of voters and number of issued ballots, to ensure the figures are accurate. As I said, the PNGEC will not publish any results until they are validated.

PNGEC will therefore be able to publish more information earlier on than in previous elections. This includes voter turnout, progress of polling, and progress of counting and progressive results. This information will be available for each election.

When data becomes available, the PNGEC will regularly update the results website.
The PNGEC will release progressive results per election as follows: during the first preference count, progressive totals will be made available every 10 counts; during distribution of preferences, progressive totals will be made available after each exclusion.

The website will display polling and results statistics for each electorate through an interactive map of PNG.

The PNGEC is operating a Support Desk with trained officials who will provide technical and procedural support to electoral officials as needed.
I realize there is a lot of information there. You’ll be receiving a full press release on this.

What the changes represent.
Let me say, we are releasing more progressive results to avoid the speculation and arguments that we have seen in recent elections.

We all know the logistical challenges of holding an election in this country. The 2017 election has had its own problems, and there may be some issues before the writs are issued on July 24.

Let me assure you once again that the Electoral Commission has operated independently, and with the interests of the people of Papua New Guinea as its guiding principle.

We will persevere and continue to manage this election, despite any challenges over the coming weeks. I urge you to be patient. We all want to progress.

I would like to remind all stakeholders and individuals that they; too share the responsibility of making sure this election proceeds fairly and responsibly. They should avoid defamatory, disrespectful or threatening behavior to other candidates, election officials or this Commission.

There are some encouraging signs. Compared with previous elections, the 2017 National Election has seen a marked reduction in violence so far and I commend the people of Papua New Guinea for showing maturity and resilience.

Democracy is a journey and PNG has clearly moved forward in this regard.


PROGRESSIVE UPDATES ON POLLING AND COUNTING

Highlands Region
Hela Province
Hela Province has completed polling. They have already started counting in all electorates and the provincial seat. Hela Regional - Counting for Hela Regional has already started.

Southern Highlands Province - Polling in all electorates in Southern Highlands province is completed. SHP will go into counting on Saturday.

Enga Province - Polling in Enga province started today, Friday 7th July 2017 after some delays.  Polling progressing well.

Western Highlands - Other electorates in Western Highlands Province polled yesterday, Thursday, 6th July while Hagen Open Electorate is tomorrow, Saturday, 8th July 2017.  It’s one day polling so they should complete by tomorrow.

Jiwaka Province - Jiwaka went to polls on Wednesday, 5th July 2017.  Jiwaka wanted to change some polling place at Singorok Barracks.
 
After some serious confrontation, I permitted the polls to be conducted in two new locations.  Changes to the new location were justified because innocent people fearing their lives from being attacked were raised and people were refusing to come to vote.  Police and the Election Manager were advised to give their reports to justify the changes. Jimi Electorate, teams were inserted today.

Eastern Highlands Province - Polling in Eastern Highland is complete in all electorates.
Eastern Highlands provinces will start counting tomorrow, Saturday, 8 July 2017.


Momase Region

Morobe Province - All polling in Morobe Province is be completed by Friday, 7 July 2017. Counting will commence on Monday, 10 July 2017 for all electorates in Morobe Province.

Lae Open Electorate - Polling in Lae conducted and completed. Counting will commence on Monday, 10 July 2017.

Madang - Polling progressing well in all electorates in Madang except for Bundi LLG in Usino Bundi Electorate, Arabaka LLG and Josephstaal LLGs in Middle Ramu. The Election Manager has requested extension of the polling dates due to geographic locations, disputes and arguments over roll and security situations.These LLGs started late and may complete by Friday, 14 July 2017.

Meanwhile Madang Open Electorate should finish their polling today, Friday, 7 July 2017, Rai Coast, Sumkar, Bogia and other parts of Usino Bundi and Middle Ramu should be completed today.  Counting for Madang will start on Tuesday, 9 July 2017 after sorting out returns and reports.

East Sepik Province - Polling progressing well in East Sepik Province.  Polling should end tomorrow, Saturday, 8 July 2017.  Last teams being monitored to complete polling are; two teams in Tunap Hustein LLG. They should complete by this afternoon.

Counting will start on Tuesday, 11 July 2017 for ESP.

Sandaun Province - Polling progressing well and is winding down in all electorates.  Polling should end tomorrow, Saturday, 8 July 2017. Counting date is not yet set but hopefully by next week mid-week.


New Guinea Islands Region

Manus - All polling completed.  Poll allowance paid on Wednesday, 5 July 2017.  
Counting venue is ok. Counting will be at Sahat Hall. Counting is set for Monday, 10 July 2017.

New Ireland Province - All polling completed. Counting set to start on Saturday, 8 July 2017.

East New Britain Province - All polling in ENB is completed. Counting is set for Sunday, 9 July 2017. Venues are paid expect for St. Mary Vuvu Secondary School hall.

West New Britain Province - All polling completed.  Counting will start on Sunday, 9 July 2017 for two electorates and the Regional seat at the Catholic diocese hall.

Autonomous Region of Bougainville - All polling completed except for Tinputz which will be completed today, Friday, 7 July 2017.

14  ballot boxes held in Tinputz was released on Wednesday, 5 July 2017.
24 ballot boxes held in Bana Constituency in Buin. OBEC George Manu negotiated with the service providers and they have released the boxes.

Counting for North Bougainville, South Bougainville and Regional will be in Buka.  Counting for Central Bougainville will be in Arawa. Counting for AROB will be on Monday, 10 July 2017.  


Southern Region
NCD - Port Moresby

Polling for all electorate in NCD was completed on Friday, 7 July and three locations extended to Saturday, 8 July 2017. Counting for NCD Regional seat started yesterday after at 7.30 pm.  Counting in progress.

Moresby South Electorate - Counting for Moresby South will take place at Kila kila Secondary School today.

Moresby North East Electorate - Counting for Moresby North East Electorate will take place at Sir John Guise Stadium today.

Moresby North West Electorate - Courting for Moresby North West Electorate will commence at Lita Flyn Sport Complex today.

Central Province - Polling in all electorates progressing well and smoothly in all teams in Central Province. No major incident reported. Counting for Central should commence on Monday, 10 July 2017.

Milne Bay Province - All polling completed except for the team at Murua LLG in Godigodi.  Godigodi is remote and they should complete polling today, 7 July 2017.  Two major problems for Milne Bay are bad weather and poor communication.  Counting for Milne Bays will start on Monday, 10th July 2017.

Northern Province - Ijivitari Urban complete.  Oro bay complete. Afore last day today, Sapia complete, chopper to pick up teams this afternoon, Tufi started late so should be complete on Saturday.  No delays.

Sohe Electorate - Tamata all team complete.  Teams are returning today.  Kira LLG​two teams completed.  ​One team arrived yesterday while one team to be picked up today by chopper.  In Kokoda, ​four team completed. The other five teams should be completed today. Higaturu LLG in Sohe started late with two teams to be completed today and six others tomorrow. Counting will start on Tuesday, 11 July 2017.  

Gulf Province - Kerema Urban LLG completed.  Central Kerema and Lakikamu LLGs completed. Others are still in progress. Kikori Electorate still in progress. Counting date is not set yet but definitely next week.

Western Province - North Fly polling is complete. Middle Fly polling is in progress. Normad LLG completed, Lake Murray LLG completed and Balimo Urban LLG completed. Gogodala LLG polling in progress and Bamu LLG polling still progressing. Teams were deployed late due to bad weather.
 
South Fly - All of South Fly still in progress except for Daru Urban – completed. South Fly requested for extension. Reason is due to bad weather and late deployment of teams.


Extension Requested
After tomorrow, which is the closing date for Polling, I will be making some extension to allow teams to complete their polling. Three provinces likely to be affected are Madang, Gulf and Western Provinces.

I am also looking out for Milne Bay and West Sepik province if specific requests are going to be made.

Madang Province
Usino Bundi Electorate - Bundi LLG
Middle Ramu - Josephstaal & Arabaka LLGs

Gulf Province - Teams in Kikori area

Western Province
Middle Fly Electorate - Bamu LLG
South Fly Electorate - Teams in South Fly




ALPHONSE MUAPI
Media Consultant

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