By-election to fill Sir Mekere’s seat

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A BY-ELECTION to fill the Moresby North West seat following the death of the late Sir Mekere Morauta will be set for February or March, according to acting Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai.
Sir Mekere, who died in Brisbane, Australia on Dec 19, was accorded a state funeral last Friday in Port Moresby, culminating in his burial on Independence Hill in Waigani.
Sinai said a date would be announced for the by-election for the Moresby North West electorate.
Sir Mekere first won the seat in 1997 and successfully contested it during the general elections of 2002, 2007 and 2017. He was prime minister from 1999 to 2002.
Meanwhile, Sinai said polling for the Bougainville provincial by-election would be held on Wednesday, Jan 20.
The writ will be retuned on Feb 19.
The seat was vacated by Joe Lera last year to contest the position of Bougainville president.
Sinai also said the Supreme Court-ordered recount of the Kandep seat in Enga was being executed administratively by the Commission.
He confirmed the appointment of election manager for Chimbu Rev Tom Sine as returning officer.
He said the assistant returning officers were the election manager Western Highlands Philip Telape and assistant election manager Chimbu Antonia Nilkare.
Sinai said he was in communication with the Police Commissioner about security arrangements for the recount in Kundiawa.
He said a budget of K6 million for the recount had already been submitted to the Department of Treasury in December.
“The Electoral Commission has been given until Feb 1 to return the results of the recount to the National Court in Waigani for verification and declaration,” Sinai said.