Gamato urged to put national interest first, defer deadline


THE date for the returning of writs needs to be extended to when all the 111 members of Parliament are declared, Registrar of Political Parties Dr Alphonse Gelu says.
He said the 111 MPs must all be present to elect a prime minister during the first sitting of Parliament.
Gelu was commenting yesterday on the decision by Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato to return the writs to Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae today.
As at 6pm yesterday, 30 seats were yet to be declared.
“From my understanding of the process, there are two options,” Gelu told The National.
“The first option is to return the writs (which have been declared so far) and declare all those other seats failed.
“They will go into supplementary elections later.
“The second option is to look at (what is in) the national interest.
“With about 30 seats still remaining to be declared, obviously the commissioner should ask the head of State to extend the (deadline for the) return of writs – maybe for another week.”
Gelu said this would allow time for all the seats to be declared.
“How can we go ahead to return the writs and only allow a few people – not the full 111 – to elect the prime minister?” he said.
“I think that doesn’t look right, especially with our system of government where the people have spoken through the ballot box to elect their representatives.”

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