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45 political parties to contest PNG election
7:55 pm GMT+12, 18/04/2017, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea Integrity of political Parties and Candidates Commission has made a last-minute exception to register the Systems Organisation Money (SOM) Pioneer Party.
 
Despite twice being rejected for registration, the party was approved during a special commission meeting convened on April 12.
 
Its inclusion will bring the final number of parties heading into the 2017 General Election to 45 in total.
 
“It seems that this will be the last political party that we will be registering. We have registered before the 2017 National Election.
 
“They have gone through a long period of waiting. We received their application for registration on December 15, 2016.
 
“Three weeks after that we advertised in the newspapers for the party to be registered, and during the first meeting of the commission in 2017 this year, the party was brought up to the commission for consideration, but then we received some objections from certain individuals and some prominent people in regards to the registration of this political party,” Deputy Registrar John Bishop said.
 
He said after the two refusals and after seeking certain clarifications on legal issues, especially dealing with registration of political parties and also after consulting certain leaders from the autonomous region of Bougainville, where the party originates from, weighing their grievances, the commission decided to approve the registration of the political party.
 
Meanwhile the registry of political parties and candidates has said that any candidate who intends to run under an unregistered political party will be declared an independent candidate.
 
Deputy registrar, John Bishop, told a newly registered political party, SOM Pioneer Party, that the certification of association issued by the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) was not in any way a certification that gave them legal acknowledgement of political party status.
 
He said instances of parties not registered, launching parties solely on the back of association certification from the IPA, was not legal.
 
“We have had instances where intending candidates or officials of political parties tend to register, launch an application with the commission, and a week later go out and try to launch their political party.
 
“That cannot be done; you have to register a political party before you go out and launch it. By mere fact that it is an association registered under IPA, does not give the status of that association as a political party.
 
“Several political parties went ahead and launched their parties long before we registered their political party, so that is one of the areas I think the registry will have to look at in the revised organic law, and we have come up with a provision where we will omit that requirement of you getting a certificate from IPA before you come and register a political party,” Mr Bishop said.
 
According to the registry, there were recent reports from the electoral commission of individuals going to the EC filling in form 29, saying that they are from about five to six political parties that have emerged without being registered.
 
“At the end of the day those 45 political parties will be the only ones that will be recognised, and any other parties or any other contesting under an association won’t be recognised under a political party. Those endorsed under these parties will be declared independents,” he said.


SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS


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