1207 Election Update Statement dated 12 July 2017

Firstly, I want to appeal to everyone involved in this election – the scrutineers, candidates and supporters, and the officials at the count, to understand their responsibilities. We are at a crucial stage in the election cycle. Everyone needs to take their role seriously, and refrain from activities and behavior that slows down the election.

We all have a duty to deliver this election fairly and safely to the country by 24 July 202017 when I will return all the 111 writs to His Excellency the Governor General to officially conclude the 2017 National Election program.

That is the day when the writs are due to be returned, by law. We have to make sure we stay on track.

All the stakeholders share responsibility. The Election Commission cannot deliver this election in a timely manner without the support of all concerned.

Progress is being made and the counting is picking up. But there are reports where unnecessary behavior causing delays.

Scrutineers’ conduct
In some places, counting has been significantly delayed after scrutineers raised objections.

Scrutineers must understand that under the Organic Law they are allowed into the counting centers to scrutinize. Scrutineers must avoid unnecessary interference and intimidation of counting officials. 

For example, the NCD provincial count was inactive yesterday after a disturbance involving scrutineers, which has led to a petition. 

There was a report that counting for the Lae open seat was delayed after scrutineers demanded to search every vehicle entering the counting venue.

Scrutineers are of course welcome at the counts. They are part and parcel of the process.

They of course want to make sure the count is done properly for their candidates. But sometimes it seems they don’t properly understand their role in the process. They should please stick to their jobs.

They are not the police. They are not the Returning Officers, or the Election Managers or Assistant Election Managers. They are not running the election.

 

Message to PNGEC staff at counting centers
I want to thank all those PNGEC staff at the counting centers for your hard work and dedication.

At the same time, want to remind you of the crucial role you play in this very important phase.

Please conduct your work as diligently as possible and do not let outside forces disrupt your work.

There will be petitions and disruptions by candidates and their scrutineers. They are a fact of life.

But election managers must handle these actions with the legal officers provided to them and keep the election process moving forward.

I have issued these instructions to all EMs and AEMs today. They must hasten counting, while staying in the legal framework.

When it comes to counting, officials must remember that all counting forms need to be properly filled out and signed by the proper authority, the Returning Officer.

The DPO’s – the Data Processing Officers - must re-enter the results in the tablet, take the image of the completed forms as soon as the RO signs and transmit the image as soon as possible to headquarters for verification.

There is a procedure in place and unnecessary delays must be avoided.

I am sure with your commitment and hard work; the counting process will be successful. 

Reports of violence in Western Highlands
We have seen reports of clashes and deaths between rival supporters, and damage to property.

We appeal to candidates’ supporters to refrain from illegal and violent behavior. The voting was peaceful in Western Highlands and the counting process must not be disrupted by violence.

I appeal for cool heads on all sides.


Election Advisory Committee (EAC)
We are still receiving questions about the Election Advisory Committee. This is of course an important issue.

As I said in my previous press briefing, we regret the EAC’s decision. This was an initiative which we hoped would be helpful.

I welcome their new comments that they had no serious disagreement with the Commission or with me. I had no quarrel with them.

As I said, perhaps their role was not totally clear to all concerned.

I would like to point out that l have not yet received written resignations from the two members who held the press conference the other day.

NATIONWIDE COUNTING UPDATES AS AT MONDAY 10 JULY 2017

  • Counting is progressing well nationwide in almost all the provinces.
  • Extension of polling has been given to certain LLGs and Wards in five provinces including:
  • East Sepik - Ambunti-Drekikir and Wosera-Gaui
  • Gulf - Baimuru, East Kikori and West Kikori
  • Madang – Usino-Bundi and Middle Ramu
  • Western – Middle Fly
  • Enga – Lagaip-Pogera.
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