Papua New Guinea’s parliamentary elections took place June 24 to July 8, and there was significant controversy. During the election, officials went on strike in the capital city, Port Moresby, and violence broke out at polling stations in Enga province, where at least 20 people died. Election officials worked slowly to tally the votes, delaying the announcement of results as a way to protest lack of payment. It wasn’t until late September that the last undeclared seat was filled. Despite these and other setbacks, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill formed a new government in Papua New Guinea in early August. Here’s what you need to know about this country’s complex voting system. In Papua New Guinea’s ninth election since independence from Australia in 1975, 3,340 candidates ran in races for 111 parliamentary seats. Half of those candidates came from 44 political parties — including 25 new parties registered for this election. The other half of the candidate pool ran as independents.
Papua New Guinea
Articles about voting issues in the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea: Extra security callout to Papua New Guinea’s Highlands over election violence | Radio New Zealand
Papua New Guinea’s government has approved the callout of additional security forces to the Highlands, where election-related violence lingers. At least twenty people have died since vote counting began last month in Enga province’s capital Wabag. PNG’s election has finished except in one electorate in Southern Highlands, where at least five deaths have been reported over grievances. The Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, has announced the expansion of the Defence Force’s callout in Hela Province to prevent unrest in neighbouring Enga and Southern Highlands.
Vote counting in the Papua New Guinea’s national elections is continuing, with the results yet to be announced. The final shape of the government may take time to emerge. A voting map from the PNG Electoral Commission on the progress of the election. Green signifies voting is complete, orange that preference distribution is ongoing, light green that first preference counting is completed and blue that first preference counting is on-going. According to the PNG Electoral Commission, Papua New Guinea’s Governor General, Sir Bob Dadae, has granted a four-day extension to the return of writs, from Monday 24 July, to Friday 28 July. The four-day extension will give additional time to electorates that are slow in counting to speed up and complete their counting.
Papua New Guinea: PNG citizens deprived of the right to vote – Forum observer team | Radio New Zealand
The Pacific Islands Forum’s election observer team to Papua New Guinea says a large number people were deprived of their constitutional rights to vote during the past month’s polling. The team deployed from 19 June to 24 July, and observed pre-polling, polling, and counting. In an interim statement released yesterday the observer group said there were several significant challenges noted, the most serious of which was the alarmingly large number of names missing from electoral rolls. It said this was especially disappointing given the team observed high levels of civic awareness and interest in participating in the election.
Perceived unfairness in the vote count has been linked to deadly election-related violence in Papua New Guinea’s Enga province. The provincial capital Wabag remains tense and in lockdown after clashes between supporters of two rival candidates for the national election in one of Enga’s open seats, Kandep. Police have confirmed that at least four people, including two mobile squad officers, died in exchanges of gunfire in Wabag early on Saturday. Frustrations had been building last week among supporters of various candidates over disruptions to the vote count for Kandep Open. Although this electorate is in another part of Enga province, the count had been taking place in the provincial capital.
The leader of Papua New Guinea’s National Party says that without an explanation about the use of extra ballot papers the electoral commissioner, Patilias Gamato, is complicit in election fraud. Kerenga Kua is set to retain his seat in Sinasina-Yonggamugl and his party is tracking strongly in various electorates where results are yet to be declared. However, as vote counting advanced at a glacial pace across PNG, Mr Kua said the election had been fraught with inconsistencies which appeared to favour the ruling People’s National Congress party. Ommissions of names from PNG’s electoral roll has been a feature of previous PNG elections, but the problem has been widespread in this year’s edition and appears to have disadvantaged key voter bases.
Papua New Guinea: Ruling party has 300,000 ‘ghost voters’ in election, claims analysis | Asia Pacific Report
Statistical indicators suggest the Peter O’Neill government in Papua New Guinea has used its power of incumbency to “cook the books” in its favour, claims a new analysis by the independent website PNG Economics. Comparing the 2017 electoral roll with population estimates by electorate based on the 2011 census, the Electoral Commission has created nearly 300,000 “ghost voters” in O’Neill’s People’s Congress Party (PNC) controlled electorates. “This is 5682 ‘ghost voters’ for every PNC sitting member. This is over 10 times the number of ‘ghost voters’ for non-PNC sitting members. PNC members are also being declared elected based on ‘mathematical impossibilities’,” the website said. PNG Economics declares on its website that it provides “timely, accurate, frank and fearless advice”.
International election observers have said problems with the electoral roll in Papua New Guinea that prevented thousands of people from voting are “widespread”. In its interim statement, the Commonwealth Observer Group called for an urgent review after the election to improve the accuracy of the roll. Elections are in their third week and while polling continues in a small number of areas, the counting of ballots has started in others. Thousands of people were prevented from voting because their names were not on the electoral roll, despite saying they had registered. The Commonwealth Observer Group sent teams to 12 provinces to monitor the polling. The group’s chairman, Sir Anand Satyanand, said his observers found the problem was “widespread”.
A Melanesian Spearhead Group observer team says all polling stations it visited in Papua New Guinea’s election had too many incidences of names missing from the common roll. The MSG observers have issued an interim statement, as the vote counting stage of PNG’s lengthy election is underway across the country. It said “the 2017 PNG National Elections were fully embraced by PNG citizens, even though it presented many challenges”. In all the polling stations that were visited by the seven MSG observers, the voters were described as “excited to participate in the election” but many found their names had dropped off the roll, or not been added.
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”.