PNG Speaker’s ‘bizarre’ bid to delay 2022 General Elections by one year

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Papua New Guinea Parliament Speaker Job Pomat has proposed to defer the 2022 National General Elections by one year, stating that the PNG Electoral Commission(PNGEC) is not ready.

He said at the Parliament State Function Room last Thursday during the PNGEC briefing with the MPs that he was prepared, as the Speaker of the House, for any amendments to defer the 2022 General Elections for a year due to the unpreparedness of the commission.

Supported by other MPs, they also alluded to the surge in Covid 19 cases throughout the country, suggesting and supporting the deferral if the situation worsened by end of the year.

Pomat took the acting PNG Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai head on to tell the truth whether PNGEC was truly ready to conduct the 2022 National General Elections.

But Prime Minister James Marape said the law did not allow for these to be deferred and that the Government will step in and help support with the funding needed to conduct this election.

“…the law doesn’t allow for this, but you want K400 million (US$114 million), then we all give it to him, K400 million (US$114 million), in the 2022 Budget, and we give him full support in the 2022 elections,” Marape said.

Sinai told the packed Parliament State Function Room that he needed K400 million (US$114 million), to run the elections and an immediate K22 million(US$6.2 million) to purchase big ticket items, and a rundown of election proper costs – Nominations K1 million(US$285,000), Transport/Fuel K4 million (US$1.1 million), Polling TEW K10 million(US$2.8 million), Polls transport – K15 million(US$4.2 million), Polling Kits – K2.5 million(US$714,000), venue hires – K2.2 million(US$628,000) (111 count centres), counting cost –K20 million(US$5.7 million) (111 count centres) and a total of K53 million(US$15.1 million) needed altogether.

Sinai recommended that funding be released to support the PNGEC conduct its electoral roll programme, as well as strategies for polling and counting.

He said resources must be made available in the first quarter of 2022.

Marape said outside organisations would be included in the Election Planning Committee to ensure a free and fair elections.

He also appealed to people around the country to register their names for voting.

“We will include outside organisations such as Transparency International, National Research Institute, Institute of National Affairs and churches in the Election Planning Committee.

“This is to ensure a free and fair elections,” Marape said.

“I also ask our people to enroll in the census and common roll updates which will be carried out before the elections,” he said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS