Candidate wants electorate declared failed

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 25th July, 2012

ELECTORAL Commissioner Andrew Trawen and Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio have been asked not to accept the writ for the Kompiam-Ambum electorate in Enga province.
Patrick Balone, a candidate who finished third in the race with 8,515 votes behind Lucas Neah (8,938) and winner John Pundari who polled 19,638 votes, claimed that a photocopy of the writ was being floated around in Port Moresby to be delivered to the electoral commissioner.
Trawen had gone public calling on several electorates, including Kompiam-Ambum, to deliver their writs immediately before Friday.However, in a media briefing yesterday, he said it was likely that the date (July 27) for the return of writs could be extended.Balone said the original copy of the writ was retrieved from a vehicle during a confrontation in Wabag on July 15. The vehicle was allegedly owned by a church pastor and driven by a presiding officer for one of the polling booths in ward two of Kompiam rural LLG. He said the driver and his passengers fled. “Those who searched the vehicle found what we believe is the original writ that had been signed.“Counting was suspended on July 13 and was to resume on July 16. Counting was still going on but to find a signed writ paints a very negative picture of the whole electoral process.”
Balone said he had raised these concerns during a media conference in Port Moresby on July 17 but nothing much came out of it. He said the Electoral Commission must take responsibility of its failure and do a proper check on his electorate’s writ when it was delivered to the commissioner.
He also pointed to other alleged discrepancies and irregularities during polling and counting and wanted the Electoral Commission to declare elections in Kompiam-Ambum failed.