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.
Students in the second largest city Lae burnt ballot papers after complaining an insufficient amount was allocated to their university, while election officials were found carrying US$57,000 in cash, media reported.
The electoral commission later reportedly said the money was an allowance for polling staff.
Meanwhile voting in the capital Port Moresby was delayed for several days after polling officials went on strike over unpaid allowances.