Doubts over independence of PNG election management
22 April 2017
RADIO NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL
DOUBTS have been expressed about the impartiality of an election steering committee which controls funds for managing Papua New Guinea's upcoming elections.
A US$120 million election budget is to be controlled by the committee whose chairman is the chief secretary to the PNG government, Isaac Lupari, rather than the electoral commissioner.
A number of intending candidates were concerned that this arrangement could enable interference in the Electoral Commission's role in managing the elections.
Intending Hela Province candidate Raymond Kuai said the constitution states the commission must operate independently from any other arm of government.
"What is independence for the Electoral Commission without the Electoral Commission managing its own funds, determining its own operations, budgeting its own funds, as to where and how it must be spent,” Mr Kuai said.
“So in other words, there is political interference. The government of the day wants to diminish the independence of an important constitutional arm of government."
Electoral Commissioner Paulius Gamato denied that there would be any political interference in the management of the five-yearly elections.
He said the commission would be free to conduct its work impartially.
The dilemma Isaac Lupari has allowed himself to be put into is this - what does he do when the directions he may receive from the Prime Minister fly in the face of his responsibilities to the Electoral Commission, through its act and the constitution? Would he,like the piper, go with he who pays, or the Rule of Law?
Posted by: Peter Sandery | 24 April 2017 at 08:13 AM
Posted by: William Dunlop | 22 April 2017 at 09:13 AM
There were claims and indications that the independence of Electoral Commission might be 'politically' tampered with, manipulated, influenced and corrupted.
Isaac Lupari appears insane on many occasions including issuing directions to police when the university students were staging a protest march in last June.
He may have already infringed expectations of his own conduct in the public office he represents. People would be wondering if that committee is subject to the Public Accounts Management Act to manage fund money. The Electoral Commission is.
So as if tampering with the Ombudsman Commission, police, universities and other government bodies is not enough, he and O'Neill wants to go further with the Electoral Commission. Looks so creepy and sinister!
Posted by: Peter S Kinjap | 22 April 2017 at 05:53 AM