2407 Respect people's choices and refrain from election violence

Supporters of losing candidates have been strongly urged to respect the choices and wishes of the people in the electorate and refrain from engaging in violence to demonstrate their dissatisfaction about the election outcomes. This follows incidents of violence in some electorates resulting in deaths, injuries and destruction to properties in at least five electorates.

Electorates that have witnessed election violence included Finschafen and Huon Gulf in Morobe, Komo-Magarima in Hela, Kavieng in New Ireland and just days ago in Wabag in Enga.

"In any race, there is only one winner."

"I have made a nation-wide appeal in my election talk for peace and calm during election time and urged everyone to refrain from any violence, threats and intimidation including destruction of property," Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said.

"Candidates who have won have the mandate of majority of the people under the Limited Preferential Voting system."

"The people have spoken through the ballot paper and their choices and wishes must be respected."

Mr. Gamato strongly appealed to losing candidates and their supporters to respect the outcome of elections in their respective electorates and exercise common sense, restraint and maturity.

"Destruction to both public and properties is criminal behavior and those responsible will be dealt with accordingly under the criminal law of our country by law enforcing agency, the police."

The Electoral Commissioner pointed out that resorting to violence to demonstrate dissatisfaction over election results is irresponsible behavior and indeed unlawful and undemocratic.

"The appropriate channel through which losing candidates are entitled to dispute and challenge election outcomes of winning candidates is through the Court of Disputed Returns after the conclusion of the election."

Media Consultant

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