Provinces to run ward elections

National

PROVINCIAL governments will manage the 2017 local level government ward elections, according to Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.
The National Executive Council (NEC) approved the separation of the managements of the national elections and LLG elections.
“This change to the Organic Law on national elections is now with the First Legislator for drafting,” he said.
“It will go through the first reading on Jan 24 and second reading in March in Parliament.”
Gamato hopes the change will go through so that the budgeting operations of the LLG elections would be decentralised to the provincial governments.
“However the key functions will be with the Electoral Commissioner because it is a constitutional function,” he said.
He said the appointment of the returning officers, advice to the minister to issue writs and return writs, the updating of the common roll and other key functions would remain with him.
Gamato said the NEC had increased fees in court petition from K5000 to K20,000 because now everyone goes to the nearest National Court and file court petitions.
“It was uncoordinated so what we saying is that, yes, you still have the opportunity to file but you file at the regional court registry offices.
“In the Highlands you file at Mt Hagen and Goroka, in New Guinea Island in Kokopo, in Momase in Lae and Southern in Port Moresby.
“There should be coordination for the effective administration of election petition.”
Gamato admitted that election managers were contributing to the increase in election petition court cases.
“I have already warned the election managers that after the 2017 elections, if there are malpractices resulting in court petition.
“ I will not hesitate to refer an officer to the police for possible criminal charges.”

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