No laws stopping those with criminal record to contest in pollls


ELECTORAL Commissioner Patilias Gamato has the final say on candidates contesting next year’s general elections, says Registrar of Political Parties Dr Alphonse Gelu.
He said complaints about candidates with criminal records should be lodged with Gamato who would decide if the candidate could contest.
“He (Gamato) has the power to do that,” Gelu said. He dropped a bombshell last week when he said that there were no laws stopping those with criminal records from contesting the 2017 election.
“Currently we don’t (have any such laws),” Gelu said.
“This is something where the power lies with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Electoral Commission.”
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.
“Once the revised Organic Law is passed, that will be the process.
“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 then you will not be eligible to contest for public office.
“Those people who have committed an offence and have served more than nine months or whatever, you must know yourself and don’t push your luck.
“We have to come out and tell the people that.”

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