A candidate opposing Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister has taken the country’s Electoral Commission to court for allowing voting on a Sunday. Voting in Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s electorate of Ialibu-Pangia began on Sunday July 2 after two days of delays, symptomatic of widespread problems with the current PNG national election. Opposing candidate Stanley Liria has filed an application in the PNG Supreme Court, asking for it to decide if the Sunday voting breached the constitution. Mr Liria said Sunday voting was prohibited in section 130 of PNG’s Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections, which says polling must take place on days “other than a Sunday or a public holiday”.
He had applied for an interim injunction preventing further counting in the seat and preventing the final result from being declared before the court ruled on the constitutional question.
Mr Liria’s lawyer, Greg Egan, told the court the breach of the law would mean the polling was invalid.
“What is alleged is that the polling that took place in the seat of Ialibu-Pangia was unconstitutional — fundamentally unconstitutional as such that no valid result can be declared,” he said.