99 writs returned, 12 remaining

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Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato yesterday returned 19 writs to Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae at the Government House in a low-key ceremony.
He told The National that the latest batch brought the number submitted to 99 from the expected 111.
Gamato said according to a Supreme Court reference yesterday, the electoral commissioner now had the discretion under section 81(3) of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections to deal with the electorates that were still to return their writs.
“That’s good news for us and it’s in our favour now to be able to allow for the rest of the electorates that are still counting to complete and return their writs,” Gamato said.
Gamato returned 80 writs to Sir Bob last Friday and extended the deadline to yesterday.
The original deadline was July 24 but disruptions and delays in counting and declarations slowed the process.
Gamato said electorates that did not meet the deadline, would still be allowed to continue.
The Ombudsman Commission obtained an interim order from the Supreme Court to extend the date for the return of writs to 2pm yesterday.

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