extended

Supreme court grants application for extension

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By DEMAS TIEN
THE Ombudsman Commission has obtained an interim order from the Supreme Court to extend the date for the return of the writs by the Electoral Commission to 2pm today.
The Ombudsman Commission, through lawyer Dr Vergil Narokobi, sought an urgent application for interim orders ex-parte before Justice Stephen Kassman to extend the date for the return of writs from Friday to today.
The court granted the interim orders because it saw it as a matter of national interest and was done in good faith.
Copies of the order were served on Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato, Clerk to Parliament and Justice Secretary on Saturday.
The matter returns to court today for the electoral commissioner to inform the court on the progress of the remaining electorates still in the counting process.
Chief Ombudsman Michael Dick said yesterday the interim order was to ensure the people in the remaining electorates would still have a say on the floor of Parliament in the election of a new prime minister and speaker.
He said the Ombudsman Commission was not interfering in the operational responsibilities of the electoral commission.
Dick said according to the law, the electoral commissioner could ask for only one extension which he had done — from July 24 to July 28.
He said the extension was not enough to cater for the remaining electorates and that was why the Ombudsman came in to assist the electoral commission.

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