PNG Electoral Commissioner :No election will be deemed as failed

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Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai says no election will be deemed as failed unless a full report is given by security and electoral staff in the five electorates that have faced issues in the past week.

Markham and Kabwum in Morobe, Kompiam-Ambum, Lagaip and Porgera in Enga Province are five electorates that have seen allegations of vote-fixing leading to clashes between supporters allegedly supported by candidates.

“No decision will be made unless a full report is given,” he said.

“For now we are putting together information we are getting and a decision will be made.”

Sinai further stated that he would also seek legal advise before making any decison.

“In Kompiam 61 boxes have been collected with 24 still out there, Lagaip 20 boxes completed, 15 destroyed and 44 polling yet to go, Porgera-Paiela 11 boxes yet to poll, 50 boxes came in,” he said.

The Post-Courier travelled into Markham, Morobe to see what happened on Saturday in which boxes had been burnt.

According to Assistant Commissioner of Police – Northern Peter Guinness the counting for Markham had been coming to a conclusion.

About 30 plus boxes were destroyed with four more boxes left to be counted. ACP Guinness said that in Kabwum it was on count six when the counting was erupted.

“For both cases we will be talking with the Provincial EC office and recommendations will be made,” he said.

Police Commissioner David Manning said a report was still being compiled.

Sinai said once the report is compiled, he will make it known.

Meanwhile, it took 20 years and just three votes to unshackle Dr Allan Marat’s grip on the Rabaul Open seat in East New Britain Province.
His reign finally came to an end Tuesday when Rabaul Open Returning Officer Babel Umri announced Graham Piniau Rumet, son of legendary Mataungan leader late Daniel Rumet, as the new member-elect for Rabaul.

Dr Allan Marat calmly and graciously accepted his defeat and announced he will retire to his family home to take care of family business.

It was a political race that went down to the wire and is the closest winning margin in the 47 years history of the Papua New Guinea Parliament.

Dr Marat led the preliminary count all the way until box 20, which was the final box for the electorate, registering 4317 votes with Rumet at his heels on 2683 votes.

At the end of the preliminary count, none of the nine candidates met the absolute majority figure and the count went into the elimination round.

United Labour Party candidate Raymond Paulias was the king maker when the distribution of his second and third choice votes gave Mr Rumet 5192 votes to Mara’s 5189.

His winning votes came from the preferential votes of Paulias who was eliminated in the seventh round.

Dr Marat, who was regarded as one of the Gazelle Peninsula’s robust, transparent, anti-corruption voices, recorded 5189 votes.

Rumet, who was in Kokopo, had to rush to the Sir Ronald ToVue Hall at the Malaguna Technical Secondary School to be declared by Umri, in the presence of the Provincial Administrator and Chairman of the Provincial Election Steering Committee Wilson Matava.

The Matupit man was hoisted up high on the shoulders of jubilant supporters and was carried into the hall with chants of ‘Graham! Graham! Graham’!

In his maiden speech, Mr Rumet said he will stand for change in the Rabaul District.

He acknowledged his loyal supporters and also the people of Rabaul for having the confidence in him to be their leader for the next five years.

“We’ve prepared ourselves for 15 years for this victory today,” he said.

He assured the people of Rabaul that he will work closely with them to bring changes to the district.

“I want to thank the previous member for being the captain of our vessel for the past 20 years,” he said.

Rumet’s declaration is the second for East New Britain Province with Pomio MP Elias Kapavore retaining his seat with an absolute majority win of 11,949 votes and 55 counts of ballot papers.

Kapavore is the first PNC candidate in the country to win his seat.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS