Campaigning delayed: EC


CAMPAIGNING for the Moresby North-West by-election has been delayed for almost two weeks due to mourning for Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, acting electoral commissioner Simon Sinai says.
“Also the recent upsurge of the Covid-19 cases in the city has contributed in delaying the schedule,” Sinai said.
“Yes, the nomination has closed today (yesterday) at 4pm. Nine candidates were nominated by Wednesday 4pm.
“But it might have increased (yesterday).
“The by-election returning officer is yet to give me the actual number of candidates that have been nominated.
“But the drawing and allocation of the candidates’ numbers will not be done today (yesterday) as originally been scheduled.
“It will be done on the March 18, and that’s when campaign will start after drawing is done for the candidates’ box numbers.”
Sinai said they wanted to give due respect to Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.
“I will now advise the governor-general on the re-scheduled dates of the by-election.
“So drawing of candidates’ box numbers will be done on the 18th and that’s when campaigning will officially start. So you will campaign from the 18th to May 14,” Sinai said.
“Polling will take place on May 15 and end on May 29.
“The writs will return to the governor- general on June 10.”
He said the country was going into mourning and so they had sought the law to re-schedule the dates.
“I apologise to the candidates, supporters and the people of that electorate. But then you will have enough time to campaign and we will use that time to prepare for the polling.
“We will use the latest counting plan for the Moresby North-West by-election that we had used in the by-elections for Goroka open and Bougainville regional,” Sinai said.
He said they would use the 2017 national election common roll for the by-election.
There are 90,000 voters enrolled.