Election open to crims

National

REGISTRAR of Political Parties Dr Alphonse Gelu has admitted that there are no laws stopping candidates with criminal records from contesting next year’s general election.
“Currently, we don’t. This is something where the power lies with the PNG Electoral Commission,” he said.
Gelu said under the Revised Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (Olippac), which was yet to be passed by Parliament, the registry was trying to take those powers from the Electoral Commission “because we deal with candidates”.
“One of the features of the Revised Organic Law is that when it comes to the listing of candidates by political parties, they have to send it to us first, we have to vet it and from there we submit it to the Electoral Commission,” Gelu said.
“Once the Revised Organic Law is passed, that will be the process (undertaken).
“Once that is passed, we will move onto the next level and be able to address that situation.
“We cannot allow felons to contest for public office.
“If you serve in prison for more than a particular time, you will not be eligible to contest for public office.
“Those people who have committed an offence and have served more than nine months (in prison), you must know yourself and don’t push your luck.
“We have to come out and tell the people that.”
Gelu said there was a well-publicised case of a Madang leader who won while serving time in prison.
“We (are not setting records in sports, we are setting records in other things (electing convicted criminals),” he said in reference to the Madang case.

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