1407 Election Update Statement dated 14 July 2017

Since my last media statement yesterday, Wednesday, 12 July 2017, counting in most of the electorates across the country are progressing well with some petitions and complains stopping and delaying the counts. Let me say that counting and tallying of results are very important to the electoral process.

Counting and tallying will determine the final result of who the wining candidate will be.  As of today, 83 electorates out of 111 are counting and their progressive counting figures are coming in.

Declaration of Election Results
So far two electorates have been declared and I am expecting 2 more to be completed and declared today or tomorrow. These two electorates completed and declared, as you know are Tari-Pori and Moresby South Electorates.

I am informed that Koroba-Lake Kopiago and Ialibu-Pangia are near completion.  I am expecting more electorates to be completed and declared over the weekend and early next week.

Deadline for Return of Writs:  24 July 2017

As you know the deadline for return of writs is Monday, 24th July 2017.  Up to now we have exactly 10 more days to go.  Monday, 24th July 2017 is a public holiday.  It is our national Remembrance Day.

The Organic Law on Election allows for 21 days of Counting.  We have asked for 16 days for counting before the return of writs. We still have 5 days buffer to go back to the Head of State and ask for the full 21 days as required under the law.

We are discussing with His Excellency’s Office, the Governor General to find a time suitable before or during that day to return the writs for the National General Election under special circumstances.  I am hoping that by next week more counting can be done and declarations made so that I can return all the writs together.

By 24 July 2017, if an electorate is still counting, I will allow them to continue on with counting and complete their counting after the date of the return of writs and their writs can be returned after the rest of writs have been returned on the 24th July 2017.

Polling and Counting Allowances
Temporary Election Workers are complaining about allowances.  We are handling these issues.  As I said in the past press conferences, we need the Presiding Officers, Assistant Returning Officers and Returning Officers to check the names of the Temporary Election Worker and their bank account properly and send them in.  

Most of these TEW names were changed at the last minute when they did not show up and new TEWs were brought in to replace them.  That is why they had to provide new list and account numbers for those new persons.

Otherwise in most electorates, we have paid them.  We are slow managing the issues and paying their allowances.  We are in constant communication with the AROs and ROs to confirm the names of the officials.

Video Footage in marking of Ballot Papers in Jiwaka
I have seen the video footage as a new article on TV Wan last night.  I must admit that marking of ballot papers outside the process inappropriate and is not democratic.  

This marking of ballot papers involved six (6) boxes at the Singorok Barracks in Jiwaka Electorate.  These boxes are for:

Kendu 1
Kendu 2
Tolu 1
Tolu 2
Bolba 1
Bolba 2

Let me say that Singirok Barracks is a gazette place for polling. There is no problem with that but the manner in which the marking of ballot paper outside the process was done is not correct.

It breaches the electoral laws and process, so my decision as Electoral Commissioner is to direct the Returning Officer through the Election Manager to set those six (6) boxes aside as disputed boxes.

I will direct a thorough investigation into this incident to find out who was involved in making that decision to highjack this electoral process and based on their findings make a decision at the later stage.  

Progressive reports on polling and extension of polling  

Polling in all electorate complete. Those electorates, especially the LLGs and wards extended should be completed today, Friday, 14 July and their ballot boxes brought in to the electorates for counting.

Those who have polling and completed late are requesting extension in counting.  These provinces are, Gulf, Western and Madang. I will be closely monitoring their counting and if they require extension of time to complete their counting, I will approve them and allow them to complete their counting process.

Media’s Role in Updating the progressive Counting Result
I am pleased with the media’s role in providing updates on the election results.  NBC as you know was given that right as the official broadcaster of the 2017 National Election.  Apart from them, the other media outlets including print and TV are doing a very good job and I want to praise you for that.

What I am providing here is just the progressive status of polling and counting per electorate.  The unconfirmed progressive reports on the counts are provided by NBC radio so listeners can tune in and listen to the updates.

Now I will go region by region and provide you the status of the polling and counting.

Highlands Region

Hela Regional Seat - Counting for provincial seat is progressing and is near completion
Tari-Pori Electorate - Declared (James Marape)
Koroba-Lake Kopiago - Counting is in progress and is near completion
Komo-Magarima - Counting is in progress.
Southern Highlands Province - Counting in SHP Provincial seat is progressing. All electorates in SHP are into counting.

Enga Province - Polling completed. Counting started in Enga Province. Some LLGs requested extension for polling. These LLGs in Enga Province include:

Kompiam Ambum Electorate
Kompiam Rural LLG
Wali Tarua LLG
Lagaip Pogera Electorate
Paela Rural LLG
Mulitaka LLG
Lagiap Rural LLG
Kandep Electorate
Wage LLG

I have approved their extensions for polling. If they require extension in counting period, I will grant approval however we will monitor their counting.

Western Highlands - Counting is in progress.

Jiwaka Province - Polling completed.  Counting in progress.  There was this incident of polling officials marking ballot papers.  I have addressed that issue earlier in this press briefing.

Eastern Highlands Province - Counting in electorates in Eastern Highlands is in progress.

Momase Region
Morobe Province
Counting in progress

Madang
Counting in some electorates have commenced.  Counting in these electorates are in progress. Some LLGs requested extension of time.  Extension has been approved and granted.  The extensions are for Arabaka and Josephstall LLGs in the Middle Ramu Open Electorate and Bundi LLG in the Usino Bundi Open electorate.

Because of the extension, if Madang Province request extension in counting for I will monitor that and grant it.

East Sepik Province - Counting in progress in all the electorates

Sandaun Province - Counting in progress in Sandaun Province.
Vanimo-Green Electorate - Counting is in progress
Nuku Open Electorate - Counting in progress
Teleformin Electorate - Counting was expected to start yesterday
Aitape Lumi - Counting started at Aitape Market Hall yesterday
West Sepik Provincial Seat - Counting will start today.


New Guinea Islands Region


Manus - Counting in progress

New Ireland Province - Counting in progress with some hiccups with Petitions however the Steering have address those issues.

East New Britain Province - Counting is in progress smoothly

West New Britain Province - Counting in progress

Autonomous Region of Bougainville - Counting in progress


Southern Region
NCD - All counting in NCD Electorates are in progress except for Moresby South which was declared (Justin Tkchatencho).

Central Province - Counting in progress for electorates in Central.

Milne Bay Province - All counting is in progress

Northern (Oro) Province - Counting in Northern Province is in progress.

Gulf Province - Commenced counting but requested extension because of late start

Western Province - Counting will start this weekend because of extension in polling.  Counting might be delayed but we will monitor and extend where necessary.

North Fly - All complete.  Counting starts on Tuesday, 11th July 2017.

Middle Fly - 3/5 LLGs are completed. Bamu and Normad LLG has been extended to the Wednesday,12th July 2017.

South Fly - Polling for Daru Urban LLG is completed. Kiwai, Morehead, Oriomo/Bituri have been extended. Extension of Time for Counting.

I have approved the following places for extension of polling periods due to weather and transportation difficulties.  If these places need extension of time for counting, we will monitor them and allow for extension of time for counting as well.

Western Province
Middle Fly Open Electorate
Bamu LLG
Nomad LLG
South Fly Open Electorate
Morehead LLG
Oriomo Bituri LLG

East Sepik Province
Wosara/Gawi Open Electorate
South Wosara LLG
Tunap Hunstein LLG

Madang Province
Middle Ramu Open Electorate
Arabaka LLG
Josephstall LLG
Usino Bundi LLG
Bundi LLG

Gulf Province
Kikori Open Electorate
Baimuru LLG
East Kikori LLG
West Kikori LLG

Enga Province
Kompiam Rural LLG
Wali Tarua LLG
Paela Rural LLG
Mulitaka LLG
Lagiap Rural LLG
Wage LLG




ALPHONSE MUAPI
Media Consultant

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