PNG will press ahead with vote next year in spite of setbacks, says Marape

James Marape
Prime Minister James Marape ... "let us hope our good PM, the government and our delegation remain true to what COP26 is all about," says the Post-Courier. Image: Scott Waide/Lowy Institute

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

Prime Minister James Marape has assured Papua New Guinea that the 2022 National General Election will go ahead as scheduled, reports the PNG Post-Courier.

He dismissed fears that the election will be deferred due to concerns over funding and the electoral roll, which is yet to be updated, with only seven months to go before the issue of writs.

“Do we have time? I concur that time is running out for us to work. We have seven months left before the writs are issued.

“We can squeeze a work program in by all sectors of government to ensure that we arrive in the 2022 election in June and July,” he said.

Marape said the update of the common roll or electoral roll was an important requirement to progress good elections in 2022.

He said the government is conscious about that and would ensure that adequate funding was secured to get all the necessary preparations for the elections in place.

“In the past we do have heavy census, heavy NID (national identification) exercises and heavy common roll updates that consume a lot of money.

For example, to do common roll updates, they come up with budgets of K200-K300 million (NZ$80-NZ$120 million), the NID exercise consumes K300-K400 (NZ$120-NZ$160 million) and the census also has a funding submission to that tune,” Marape said.

“We do not have the luxury of funds to conduct different census or common rolls.

“We are trying to do it in a cost efficient manner in which we get to know our population.

“We will a do headcount and from one population data we could migrate that into our census.

“In the September-October period, every district and province is informed to prepare to assist our ward members update the population of the 6000 wards that we have nationwide.”

Ward members can update baseline population headcount from household to household. They are are closest to the people.

“The PNGEC (PNG Electoral Commission) team, from this population data base, will verify those who are 18 years and above to be migrated to the common roll and that will take place in December, January, February and March, for the common roll verification and update,” Marape said.

“By April-May that data will be ready to be used for the election.”

He said this during question time when responding to questions from Esa’ala MP Davis Steven.

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