By HELEN TARAWA
THE electoral commission has sought assistance from Police Commissioner Gari Baki to beef up security in Kandep, Enga, as counting continues.
Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said similar arrangements would be made for the other five electorates that were still counting.
“I have consulted Commissioner Baki and he has assured me of beefing up security personnel in Mendi to allow counting for the Southern Highlands provincial seat to be concluded,” Gamato said.
“I appeal to all the candidates for Southern Highlands provincial seat to be patient and allow for the counting process to be completed.”
Gamato said there were 650 ballot boxes, with 462 counted so far and 188 uncounted.
The total number of ballot papers counted from the 462 ballot boxes are 306,772. The absolute majority calculated is 153,386.
The three top candidates are William Powi with 91,745, Joseph Kobul 60,131 and Jerry Kivai with 40,411 votes.
“Provincial returning officer Jacob Kurap went to Port Moresby with figures higher than the total and asked me to declare Powi as MP-elect for the SHP provincial seat,” Gamato said.
“I refused to declare Powi on the basis that he did not pass the absolute majority of 51 per cent as required under the Limited Preferential Voting system. “Other concerns which came to my notice included killings and the intimidation of the returning officer.
“But counting will continue while disputed ballot boxes would be set aside.
Meanwhile, the commission has appointed Michael Ariando as the returning officer for Ialibu-Pangia.
“Ariando will conduct the quality checks and reconciliation of the remaining ballot boxes,” Gamato said.
By HELEN TARAWA