The National, Wednesday July 11th, 2012
By SHIRLYN BELDEN
ELECTORAL Commissioner Andrew Trawen has warned candidates and scrutineers to stop delaying counting unnecessarily.
He was responding to counting delays in some parts of the country including the National Capital District this week.
Trawen said there were reports of candidates and their scrutineers putting needless pressure on counting officials and returning officers to suspend counting unnecessarily.
Trawen said counting was often stopped because of the absence of scrutineers which should not be the case.
“It is not obligatory on the returning officer and counting officials to ensure scrutineers are present all the time before counting can take place or is continued.
“Under section 150 and section 151 of the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections, the returning officer can authorise counting to go ahead without a scrutineer or scrutineers present.
“However, the PNG Electoral Commission has always taken into consideration the wider interest of the community in the past and has always insisted on ensuring scrutineers are always present before any counting starts.
“Therefore all candidates must take responsibility and ensure their scrutineers are present and on time in order to stop the unnecessary delays in the counting.”
He said scrutiny and counting should continue even if candidates refused to allow their scrutineers to be at the centres.