PNG election thrust into new crisis as advisory committee quits
Court orders that expelled missionary can return to PNG

Election included botched common roll, vote buying: observers

Sir Anand Satyanand (Johnny Blades)KEITH JACKSON

IN its first published comment on the troubled Papua New Guinean elections, the Commonwealth Observer Group has issued an interim statement that calls for an urgent review of the electoral roll.

The group’s chairman, Sir Anand Satyanand, said it was critical that expertise and funding for creating a credible roll be provided in a timely manner before the next election and said that the PNG government had ignored previous observer group reports addressing the same issue.

"The people of Papua New Guinea deserve better and eligible voters must be allowed to exercise their democratic right and participate in their national elections," said Sir Anand.

Radio New Zealand International reports that the observer group also said vote-buying was also a matter of concern.

The group noted a number of reported incidents of alleged vote buying, including "through using state resources and provincial and district development funds made available to incumbents".

"These funds were alleged to have been used to buy voters' support or for projects to induce voters," said Sir Anand.

He said the observers were told ‘money politics’ had significantly influenced the electoral process and may have led to an uneven playing field for the parties and candidates in the 2017 elections.

Sir Anand also reflected on lack of expertise among electoral officials.

"The group is of the view that an adequate training programme is required, and in advance of the next election, so that polling officials will become more efficient in undertaking their duties, and that outlined procedures are adhered to during the election period,” he said.

The observer team said most polling stations opened late and some were given fewer ballot papers than the expected number of voters, Radio New Zealand International reported.

Furthermore, "adherence to the secrecy of the ballot was clearly not consistent throughout the different provinces ".

The results, Sir Anand said, "should reflect the wishes of the people who participated in the 2017 national elections."

The observer group’s final report will be presented before it departs PNG on Friday.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Peter Sandery

That was my immediate reaction when I read this too, Phil. Perhaps senility is affecting both of us?
A suggestion I made years ago that PNG go back to the type of annual census that was done in earlier times, for a whole variety of reasons, would mean that the data for a Common Roll was never more than six months out of date. I was told by the experts that those who would be charged with such duties would be unable to effectively gather the required information.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Excuse me but I thought that Australia had provided funds and expertise to properly update the electoral roll and to train electoral officials ready for the 2017 poll.

Am I missing something here?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)