By Gorethy Kenneth in Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea’s general election will go ahead as planned in June with CCTV (closed circuit television) to monitor counting, says Prime Minister James Marape.
He has announced “several reforms” that will be included in election monitoring this year.
“For purposes of transparency, we will have Transparency International, National Research Institute and civil society representation in the Elections Planning Committee,” he said.
“We will have separate voting queues for men and women to cast their votes without undue influence, as in the past.
“It is the right of voters to make their choice based on their God-given wisdom — not on inducements, bribery, cash, food, wantok system or hype.
“We will have CCTV used for counting to make the elections fair and friendly for all.”
Reports reaching the Post-Courier indicated that Parliament would decide in the last session before the elections for deferral of elections by six months or 12 months in order to accommodate for the new electorates recently set up and approved in the last session of Parliament.
The last session will be the third week of April.
But the PNG Electoral Commission and the Prime Minister’s Office have brushed aside these reports, saying they were not true.
The commission said the 2022 National General Election was ready to go and that preparations throughout the country, although slow, were on track for the issue of writs on April 28.
Also, the ballot papers for the elections have arrived in Port Moresby over the weekend from Australia.
Australia printed 12 million of the country’s ballot papers at a cost of K10 million (US$2.8 million) to be used in the NGE 2022 as announced by Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai early last month.
The papers are now being guarded by a 24-hour police security operation which has been mounted at a location where the papers are being kept.
The indelible ink to be used during polling will arrive in the country this weekend, an indication that election will go ahead as planned.
PM Marape said there would also be severe penalties imposed on election officials who engage in “improper and illegal conduct” during elections.
The elections are scheduled from June 18.
Gorethy Kenneth is a Post-Courier senior reporter. Republished with permission.