PNG Commission sets poll timeline

png election
PHOTO: PINA

Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai has announced that nominations for the 2022 PNG General Elections will be accepted from today, Thursday 19 May, and counting will be carried out in tandem with polling.

Electoral candidates will have until 26 May to nominate. This would ensure a two-week grace period for United Labour Party to elect a new party leader and to reorganise their campaign while also providing other parties sufficient time to prepare.

The reshuffling of dates had meant pushing forward the polling period a week earlier to 02 July from 09 July, giving voters an extra week but also meaning that returning officers and assistant returning officers would be working around the clock to ensure polling and counting would be completed on time.

“Increasing the polling period by starting on 2 July, instead of 9 July, would provide additional time to the PNG Electoral Commission (PNGEC) to conduct polling and start counting earlier,” he said.

“More time is also provided to ensure that the scrutiny and count following the polling in each electorate is conducted and that the writ be returned on or before 29 July,” he said.

The extension would also give the PNGEC more time to complete the creation of new electoral rolls for the seven new electorates.

Challenging election

Meanwhile, PNG Electoral Commissioner Sinai says delivering the general election will be difficult, hence, cooperation from everyone is needed.

“We are going to work under tremendous pressure,” Sinai told media. “(This include) time pressure and (delivery) of materials. It is not easy to run 96 electorates and 22 provincial electorates in the country.”

He urged everyone working in the election space to do what they are supposed to do.

He called on the returning officers to be transparent and impartial in their decisions according to the guides that have been prepared for them.

He also called on the people to understand that the returning officers and assistant returning officers were public servants tasked to help the PNG Electoral Commission who would not control anything.

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