Scrutineers stop count to deliver petition

National

MORE than 800 scrutineers delayed counting in Kavieng for six hours to deliver a petition to provincial returning officer Iven Lakatani.
Lakatani was in Namatanai and acting election manager Glenson Laena and Kavieng returning officer Yuyu Lasbut eventually received the petition which was addressed to Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.
Scrutineers representing candidates Martin Aini, John Knox, Rubie Kerepa, John Aini, Moses Makis and John Paska claimed that proper processes were not followed during counting.The candidates claimed that apart from counting discrepancies, half of the voting population was denied the right to vote and that warranted a fresh election.
They also alleged that Lakatani signed on unsigned ballot papers in the box of team two of the Kavieng Urban LLG on Monday.
The candidates demanded a recount of the seven ballot boxes that were counted and further demanded that counting should stop immediately.
Another demand was for the counting officers to rotate after every count to avoid vote-rigging.
There were other minor issues raised in the petition.
Laena said that counting would remain suspended while the issues in the petition were addressed by Gamato.
It is understood that former MP Ian Ling-Stuckey, who is currently leading the Kavieng open seat,  disallowed his scrutineers from taking part because he was was not in favour of the stoppages.

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