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”.
Kenya experienced a remarkable, if seemingly coincidental, series of events this weekend. Nine people were beheaded by suspected al-Shabaab militants. The Secretary of Internal Security died suddenly. President Uhuru Kenyatta appeared to accuse the judiciary of meddling in the elections. And the opposition leader Raila Odinga was briefly hospitalised. All just a month before Kenya heads to the polls on 8 August in what is anticipated to be a tense vote. … The event this weekend with perhaps the most long-term effects on the elections was a decision by the high court and the president’s subsequent response. On Friday, the court nullified the tender to print ballot papers, which had been awarded to a Dubai-based firm. The opposition claimed that the company has ties to Kenyatta. In their ruling, the judges did not refer to any such connections, but stated that “the failure to consult all the presidential candidates was unfair” and concluded that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had not carried out the tender adequately. The court ordered that the process be restarted.
Papua New Guinea’s struggle to complete its election tells the story of the country’s continuing woes. It is derived from one part corruption, one part inadequate funding, and several parts of the kind of bureaucratic incompetence that mars so many PNG institutions. This year’s election — the ninth since independence from Australia — which in theory finished last Saturday, started quietly with the most low-key campaigning period in living memory — since most candidates simply did not have the money to spend on the colourful electioneering of the past. In 2002, especially in the Southern Highlands, about 100 people died as the election campaign burst into tribal warfare.
Only President Paul Kagame has a chance of winning the 2017 presidential election. And he could stay in power until 2034. “More of a coronation than real contest.” That’s how the Kenyan daily The Standard characterised Rwanda’s presidential poll slated for 4 August. It sums up the reality well. In countries with competitive politics, elections are an important moment giving rise to debate and excitement. Not so in Rwanda. Rwandans have become accustomed to polls where everything is settled in advance. This was the case before the genocide, when the country was officially a one-party state. And it has been the case since 1994, after which Rwanda became a de facto one-party state under the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
Distrust is the best word to describe Kenya’s political mood ahead of the upcoming elections. Just as the country was getting ready for the first presidential debate ahead of the elections, President Uhuru Kenyatta pulled out. When the last election was held four years ago he complained that the moderators’ questions were biased. His main opponent, Raila Odinga, followed suit and the debate was postponed. The move is symptomatic of Kenya’s heated campaigning period, which has seen the debate over political reforms and development take a back seat. On August 8, Kenyans will not only elect the next president, they will also vote for new governors, senators and local governments.
Counting is under way in Papua New Guinea’s sprawling elections, officials said Thursday, but voting has been marred by claims of rigging, electoral roll flaws and ballot paper shortages. The last polling stations are due to close Saturday after two weeks of voting for the 111-seat parliament across the vast and remote country where previous elections have been tarnished by violence. The Pacific nation’s leader, Peter O’Neill of the People’s National Congress (PNC), has hailed this year’s poll as “calm and peaceful”, even as some voters complained their names had vanished from the electoral roll.
As polling continues in Papua New Guinea’s general election, the Electoral Commissioner is under more pressure to resign. This followed a string of controversies early in the two-week polling schedule. Wild inconsistencies and flaws in the electoral roll, scheduling changes and delayed polling were already a bad way to start. The pressure then piled on the Commissioner, Patalias Gamato, after the sudden decision to defer polling in the capital from Tuesday to Friday. But then three electoral officials were detained for police questioning after they were found carrying marked ballot papers, suspicious documents and in one case US$57,000 in cash. A group of candidates from the capital have formed a petition urging Mr Gamato to stand down to restore integrity to the election.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled last week that the 2011 Russian parliamentary elections were “unfair” and “compromised,” World Affairs Journal reported. “The seven-judge panel (that included a judge from Russia) unanimously ruled that there has been a violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to free elections,” World Affairs said. In the case of Davydov and Others vs. Russia, the court concluded that the “fairness of the elections … was seriously compromised by the procedure in which the votes had been recounted. In particular, the extent of recounting, unclear reasons for ordering it, lack of transparency and breaches of procedural guarantees in carrying it out, as well as the results whereby the ruling party gained votes by large margins, strongly support the suspicion of unfairness.”
Iran’s election watchdog certified President Hassan Rouhani’s reelection as fair on Tuesday, dismissing claims by the defeated hardline candidate who had asked for investigation into alleged widespread fraud. “The Guardian Council confirmed today in a letter the results of the 12th presidential election in Iran,” Salman Samani, the spokesman of the interior ministry, was quoted as saying by the state media. Rouhani easily secured reelection for a second term in the May 19 vote, winning more than 57 percent of the vote. His main challenger, hardline judge Ebrahim Raisi, received 38 percent.