Members of an advisory committee assessing Papua New Guinea’s general election have resigned. This comes as polling is still in progress in some electorates, past its scheduled conclusion on Saturday. Polling could still take several more days to complete in an election full of disruptions. Yet counting is well advanced in a number of electorates, with at least one seat already declared – that of Tari Open in Hela province where the incumbent Finance Minister James Marape has swept to victory. The various complaints that have surfaced about electoral roll inconsistencies in Hela and other provinces are part of an area that the Electoral Advisory Committee was appointed to assess. The committee members were Chief Ombudsman nominee Richard Pagen, Transparency International nominee Richard Kassman and lawyer John Luluaki.
Upon its appointment last month, the Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato emphasised the committee’s importance, saying it would assess the election situation on the ground and make recommendations for a better process.
But one month into its job, the whole committee has resigned, indicating the Electoral Commission running this election has not allowed them access to information they require to be able to do their job.