By-election date set

Main Stories, National


THE writs for the Kandep by-election will be issued on Sept 10 and close on Sept 16.
Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen announced this yesterday, a day after ousted member Don Polye said he would contest the seat instead of seeking a judicial review.
Mr Polye’s victory in the 2007 general election was declared null and void by a National Court in Waigani two weeks ago.
Mr Trawen told a press conference in Mt Hagen that polling would start on Nov 7 and be completed by Nov 13.
He said Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane had approved the dates and that the State had set aside K4.5 million for the by-election.
“This time, the ballot boxes and polling teams will be dropped by helicopter to prevent anyone from hijacking the ballot papers,” he said.
In the last election, it was alleged that the ballot boxes, which were transported by road, were hijacked.
“We want to make sure that this election is as clean as possible and trouble-free,” Mr Trawen said.
He said it had to be held this year and not next year as the Electoral Commission would then be focusing on the 2012 general election.
He said the team leaders for the by-election would be selected from provinces like Simbu and Hela.
The commission’s election manager for Enga, Henry Kyakas, election operations director Peter Malaifeope and Highlands regional operations manager Openakali Tiane were also present.
All were in Mt Hagen attending a two-day Highlands Regional Stakeholder Consultative Workshop organised by the commission to start community networking, strengthen existing partnerships, and build new relationships in preparation for the 2012 elections.
On Tuesday, Mr Polye opted for a by-election instead of appealing a court decision which ruled him out as the Kandep MP.
“If I win a review in the National Court, there will still be shadow of doubts in the minds of the people over my election victory,” he said.
Among other things, the judge, who declared his election victory null and void, said some of the polling stations had returned 100% votes for Mr Polye and he found this hard to believe.
Meanwhile, the Highlands faction of the National Alliance yesterday pledged support for Mr Polye.
Education Minister James Marape, who is interim deputy leader for the Highlands faction, said they would continue to provide stability in the government and support Mr Polye to win re-election.