Polling starts in new Jiwaka province in PNG’s Highlands

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Polling starts in PNG’s Jiwaka province. Video: EMTV News

By Vasinatta Yama in Kurumul, Papua New Guinea

Polling for Papua New Guinea’s Jiwaka province — created in 2012 by being split off from Western Highlands — has started, with some parts of Jimi electorate voting yesterday.

It will continue today, with North Waghi and Anglimp South Waghi electorates going to the polls.

Polling for Jiwaka was deferred last Friday until yesterday and today after identifying issues with the updated electoral roll.

Ballot boxes for Jimi Open where dispatched from 6 am.

For some areas in Jimi that received their ballot boxes, polling began about 9am, while others are still waiting.

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Provincial Steering Committee chairman Michael Wandil said that by last night or early today, the 184 wards in the province should receive its their ballot boxes and go to the polls.

Jiwaka province polling officials received the preliminary roll just last Thursday, which resulted in the delay in the stamping of ballot papers and cross checking of names.

Scrutineers calm
Scrutineers have remained calm and very happy that they were able to observe the pre-counting of the ballot papers.

The stamping and packing of ballot papers by the steering committee has taken longer than anticipated.

There has been tight security since last Friday.

Provincial Police commander Joseph Tondop assured the public that there was a strong police presence everywhere, and polling would not be affected.

Jiwaka was created in May 2012 , the year of the last general election, and the provincial capital is temporarily located in Kurumul. Mostly provincial matters are handled in Kurumul and a handful in Minj.

Papua New Guinea’s highest mountain, the 4509m Mt Wilhelm, is on the border on Jiwaka, Simbu and Madang provinces.

Meanwhile, Loop PNG reports that under fire Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has announced plans to establish a task force to spearhead the voter registration system immediately after the 2017 general election.

There has been widespread condemnation of the state of the electoral common roll with thousands of people stating that they are not listed.

EMTV News elections coverage stories are republished with permission.

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