By-election to go ahead: Trawen

National, Normal
Source:

ISAAC NICHOLAS

THE Kandep by-election will proceed as scheduled despite confusion among some quarters of the media, Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen said yesterday.
He said the Governor-General had approved the dates and there would be no changes.
Last week, after a National Court declared Don Polye’s 2007 election null and void, Mr Trawen announced that the writs would be issued on Sept 10 and polling would be held between Nov 7 and 13.
Yesterday, he said the commission’s lawyers had already filed an application for leave in the Supreme Court to review only the cost aspect of the National Court’s decision and not the entire decision.
Mr Polye has publicly declared that he would go straight to the by-election, and will not appeal the court ruling. But his lawyers filed a challenge in court last week.
This embarrassed Mr Polye, who said he would instruct them to withdraw the case.
When contacted by a reporter yesterday afternoon in Mt Hagen, lawyer Paulus Dowa said he had yet to get a formal letter from Mr Polye on whether to discontinue the case or not.
Mr Dowa said he had until Sept 10 to do that … file a motion of discontinuation. It is different with the Electoral Commission.
The costs involved in the election petition were significant and the National Court has ordered the commission pays 75%.
The commission is of the view that it should pay for costs only in relation to errors and omissions as opposed to illegal practices, and only in relation to the 13 ballot boxes that petitioner Alfred Manase was successful on, not for the 22 others that were not proven.
“The Electoral Commission is filing an application for leave to review only on the costs aspect.
“This will not upset the substantive decision of the National Court. It has no bearing on the issue of the writ and the by-election,” Mr Trawen said.
He said the fact that Mr Polye had filed an application for leave to review the National Court decision to nullify his election would now defer the issue of writs unless he formally withdrew the application.
It is understood that the Supreme Court will consider the application before Sept 10.
Mr Trawen said the commission did not know that Mr Polye would appeal against the National Court’s decision.
He added that the commission’s application was different from Mr Polye’s action.
“As its constitutional duty, the Electoral Commission had announced the dates for the issue of writs because the seat for Kandep electoral is now vacant,” he said.
Mr Trawen also said the commission had appointed Gulf election manager Tore Poevare as the returning officer.
Madang election manager Kila Ralai and Oro manager Kili Egaba will assist.