Papua New Guinea’s Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai says he will seek a further extension from the Governor-General for the return of writ for Southern Highlands provincial seat which has faced protracted delays in counting.
He said any discussions and talks of “failing” an election and calling for a supplementary or a byelection was not on his table and would not happen as the costs of running elections had escalated and were expensive.
Sinai said he would be writing to the Governor-General, Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae, today requesting an extension for for Southern Highlands and other remaining electorates that were still being counted.
The last extension for the return of writs from July 29 to August 12 expired today.
The commissioner called on all Southern Highlanders to cooperate and allow the electoral process to continue without interference and delays to the counting as for the past couple of weeks.
“I am calling on all Southern Highlanders, especially those in Mendi, to observe and respect the rule of law and let the electoral process continue without interruptions,” he said.
Sinai said the commission would be seeking more police reinforcements for Southern Highlands to beef up security on the ground and ensure that counting was completed and the result delivered.
The commissioner expressed concern over a public perception people had about Southern Highlands as a “place of trouble”. He urged local leaders and supporters to put politics aside and think about building and protecting the image of the province.
“The democratic process that we have adopted is not about physical fight, but it is a fight through the ballot papers and whoever scores well during the scrutiny and counting process wins,” he said.
“It’s a game — one has to win and one has to lose. If you are aggrieved by the outcome, you can always seek an intervention of the court.”
Republished with permission.
This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.