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More time sought

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By MALUM NALU
ELECTORAL Commissioner Patilias Gamato will today return the writs he has received so far, while counting will continue for the electorates yet to declare winners.
As at 6pm yesterday, 81 seats had been declared with 30 remaining.
Gamato told The National last night that he had sought approval from Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae yesterday to extend the deadline for counting in the electorates which still needed more time to complete the process.
The return of writs was to have been done on Monday this week. But on Sunday, Sir Bob granted the extension of the deadline to today following a request by Gamato.
Gamato, pictured, said yesterday he would today return the writs he had received so far.
Because there were some electorates still counting, he again asked Sir Bob to extend the deadline for the 30 electorates which needed more time.
Gamato expects all the writs to be returned by Thursday, before Parliament sits on Friday, August 4.
“I’ll still allow them (undeclared seats) to continue counting,” he said.
“What I’ll be doing is asking the head-of-State (Sir Bob) for individual extensions under special circumstances.
“We will discuss with them how many more days they will require for counting.”
Meanwhile, the three political groups attempting to form government are in their different camps.
The group led by the People’s Congress Party is in Alotau, the one led by the Pangu  Pati is in Goroka and the one led by the National Alliance Party is in Kokopo, East New Britain.
The PNC, which has won 25 seats so far, is expected to be invited by Sir Bob to form the government today.
Joining PNC in Alotau are United Resources Party with four members, People’s Progress Party with five, Social Democratic Party with two, Christian Democratic Party with one, Our Development Party with one and two independents – a total 40.
This coalition needs 56 MPs to form the government.
The Goroka camp, led by the Pangu Pati, has nine Pangu members elected and three Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party members – total of 12.
National Alliance’s Kokopo camp has 13 members declared so far.
The Goroka and Kokopo camps were reported yesterday to have joined forces and would be moving to Kokopo this weekend.

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