Papua New Guinea’s Electoral Commission is under pressure from opposition MPs over preparation for general elections. PNG is due for its five-yearly general elections in mid-2017, with the two-week polling period expected to take place around mid to late June. But late changes to election rules and PNG’s error-ridden common roll have sparked concern, as Johnny Blades reports. The Electoral Commissioner admits that the roll he inherited, which was used in the 2012 general elections, was inflated. Patilius Gamato says Australia’s Electoral Commission has helped cleanse the roll of about 109-thousand so-called “ghost names” out of a total of more than 4 million. He hopes to print the final roll by the end of March. An intending candidate in Hela province, George Tagobe, says getting the roll right is important in his province, given the potential for unrest.
“In this election if the common roll is updated fairly and if we can allow people to vote rightfully I do not think there will be any problems. But if the common rolls are not updated properly. If people are stuffed around then that is the time I think they will show their frustrations.”
In West Sepik, the former provincial governor Simon Solo, admits the common roll is the big worry, especially after he lost his seat in the last election when under-aged voters were found to have voted.