51 seats in Papua New Guinea election not declared yet


The Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission is running out of time, patience and legal advice.

With 24 hours left for return of writs Friday, 51 seats in the National Parliament remain ‘unseated’ as counting in those electorates and provinces are yet to be concluded.

The Post-Courier was advised the PNG Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai had the powers to allow for the seats to be declared after Friday.

But Chief Electoral Commissioner Sinai was also seeking legal advice on what is likely to happen if these 51 seats were not declared and writs returned by 4pm tomorrow.

However, the Commission advised that they were adamant most of the seats will be declared by tomorrow, before the writs are returned by 4:06 pm to the Government House.

“What the Electoral Commission is looking at now is at least absolute majority of writs to be returned on Friday, that is 60 plus in order for a government to be in place,” the Commission advised last night.

“And according to the electoral seats not yet declared, the Chief Electoral Commissioner can allow the writs to be returned after Friday and anytime.

“If you can recall a similar situation in the 2017 NGE, where the Southern Highlands Regional Seat was last to have its writs returned very late, after government was formed.”

The remaining seats in this report include 14 Governor seats and 41 Open seats.

With the extension of return of writs date already under the legal radar, the PNG Electoral Commission is now faced with a dilemma which may lead to those outstanding seats being declared failed.

They include the Provincial seats for Madang, NCD, Oro, Morobe, Enga, Simbu, Jiwaka, Western Highlands, Eastern Highlands, Western, Central, Gulf, West Sepik and Southern Highlands.

The Open seats include Madang, Sumkar, Middle Ramu, Usino Bundi, Raicoast (Madang province), Moresby North West and Moresby North East in NCD, Chuave, Kerowagi, Sinasina-Yongomugl, Gumine, Karamui/Salt Nomane and Kundaiwa-Gembogl in Chimbu, North and South Waghi in Jiwaka, Dei, Tambul-Nebilyer and Mul-Baiyer in Western Highlands, Daulo, Okapa and Kainantu in Eastern Highlands, South Fly and Middle Fly in Western, Goilala, Hiri-Koiari, Abau and Rigo in Central, Kerema and Kikori in Gulf and Mendi and Kagua Erave in Southern Highlands.

Lagaip, Kandep and Wapenamanda with Enga Regional seats were still under the PNGEC legal radar and Commissioner Sinai was expected to give an update on these seats today.