Papua New Guinea voters are going to the polls in elections dominated by corruption allegations hanging over their prime minister and the South Pacific island nation’s deepening economic woes. Voting started Saturday and will continue until July 8 through a complex exercise safeguarded by police and soldiers in a rugged country where few roads penetrate a mountainous jungle interior, and where allegations of corruption and violence often mar elections. Vote counting will likely take another two weeks after the polls close, and which party the newly elected lawmakers will support to form a government will not be known for certain until they take office and arrive in the capital, Port Moresby.
Allegations of corruption and violence also mar the process of gathering votes in a diverse country of more than 800 languages, where most of the 7.7 million people are traditional subsistence farmers and women continue to be slain on suspicion of witchcraft.
Voting in Port Moresby was postponed on Tuesday until Friday because polling officials had gone on strike due to pay issues, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.