By Muhuyupe Soranzi
THE writ for the Eastern Highlands provincial seat was returned to Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato by provincial returning officer Ikiso Kosawama yesterday in Port Moresby.
Gamato, when receiving the writ, congratulated the governor-elect for EHP Peter Numu for his victory and thanked everyone in Eastern Highlands for making the election in the province successful.
“I want to take this time to thank the chairman of the election steering committee in Eastern Highlands, Samson Akunai, and all members including the election manager, provincial returning officer and the returning officers for the support you have given,” he said.
“There was also a lot people who worked behind the scenes including the polling officials, counting officials, service providers, security forces who protected the process and other interest groups. You have all done well in delivering the election in Eastern Highlands and therefore I want to thank and congratulate all of you.”
Gamato said Eastern Highlands was the second largest province in the country with eight electorates plus the provincial seat and it was not an easy exercise to run an election.
“Conducting elections is not easy as some people think but has a lot of challenges.”
“I know you have gone past time to do the counting but it was allowed because I have special provisions under Section 81 sub section 3 which gives me the power to allow counting to continue. And I have done that for those provinces including Eastern Highlands who have not yet declared their MPs in time.”
Accompanying the provincial returning officer to return the writ were Samson Akunai, election manager Steven Gore Kaupa and the returning officers of the eight open electorates in Eastern Highlands.
Numu, the PNG One Nation Party candidate, was declared the new Eastern Highlands governor on Sunday after polling 157, 257 votes while student leader and independent candidate Livingstone Fontenu was runner up with 88,677 votes.
Incumbent Julie Soso was eliminated earlier in the race.