Over 70 seats disputed in PNG Election

(August 1, 2022) East Sepik candidates returning their Writs to Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai (center).

A massive 74 out of 118 seats that were contested in the Papua New Guinea 2022 General Election (NGE) have been disputed and are now before the National Court to determine the results.

This is the second highest number of election petitions filed in PNG’s history since independence.

The highest number of election petitions filed was in 2012 with 102 petitions. In the 2017 NGE, 80 petitions were filed.

According to statistics as of Tuesday, 94 election petitions have been registered with some electorates having two to three different National Court Registry petitioners challenging the winning candidate and the actions of the Electoral Commission.

Common allegations in most of the petitions vary from bribery, undue influence, acts of omission and failures of the Electoral Commission and security forces in carrying out their duties.

Reliefs sought are declarations of a by-election, declarations of petitioners as winning candidates and recount of ballot papers.

In the 2022 NGE, one electorate, Lagaip, was declared failed, while two electorates the North Bougainville seat and the Wewak Open seat winning candidates have passed on after declarations.

Election petitions filed so far are: Goroka Open two petitions, Lae, Manus Provincial, Rabaul Open, Magarima Open, Pomio Open, Koroba-Lake Kopiago, Hela Provincial, Maprick Open, Huon Gulf, Yangoru-Saussia, Kavieng open, Bougainville Provincial, Kompium-Ambum two petitions, Wabag two petitions, South Bougainville, Talasea Open, Kandrian-Gloucestor, Enga Provincial, Kandep Open, Aitape-Lumi, Moresby South two petitions, Ambunti-Drekikir, Wewak Open, Tewai-Siassi, North Fly, Wau-Waria Open, Vanimo Green, Middle Fly, Nuku, Kairuku, Esa’ala Open, East Sepik Provincial, Sohe Open, Wapanamanda two petitions, Samarai-Murua two petitions, Nakanai Open, Kabwum, Alotau three petitions, West New Britian Provincial, Gulf Provincial, Pogera-Paiela Open two petitions, Bogia Open, Obura-Wonenara Open, Chuave Open, Goilala Open, Western Provincial, South Fly Open, Okapa Open, Oro Provincial, Kainantu Open, Henganofi Open Rigo Open, North Waghi Open, Dei Open, Central Provincial, Mul-Baiya Open, Abau Open two petitions, Markham Open, Karimui-Nomane Open, Sumkar Open, Jiwaka Provincial two petitions, Kagua-Erave two petitions, Kundiawa-Gembogl Open, Tambul-Nebiliya, Usino-Bundi, Gumine Open, Kerowagi Open, Middle Ramu Open, Nipa-Kutubu Open, Western Highlands Provincial, Port Moresby North East three petitions, Rai Coast Open, Eastern Highlands Provincial.

There were also some electorates that were declared late and their 40 day limit is still open for petitioners to file their petitions.