Court asked if election free, fair

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IALIBU-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill says the rights of at least 3.8million citizens and hundreds of candidates have been denied by the wilful actions of a few power-hungry men.
The People’s National Congress (PNC) party leader said this yesterday after he filed a Supreme Court application asking for interpretation on election-related matters and for directions to ensure a fair completion of the General Election 2022 (GE22).
O’Neill has put into motion questions arising from section 50 of the Constitution regarding democracy suffering as a result. Section 50 was enshrined by the country’s forefathers so candidates and voters can have free and fair elections.
According to the court document obtained by The National, O’Neill asks the court to interpret whether the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections (OLNLLGE) allows for the return of writs to be fixed today (Aug 5).
O’Neill also seeks the court’s interpretation on whether:

  • THE effect of section 97 (2) of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections in the elections in electorates when no candidate has been elected by today are deemed to have failed;
  • THE electoral commissioner has the power under the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections and elsewhere to extend the deadline of the writs may be returned beyond today; and,
  • IN the circumstances of GE22 (where a large number of writs have not been returned or are unlikely to be returned, and such writs are likely to be returned given more time) is it inconsistent with Section 50 of the Constitution for the EC not to cause the date for the return of the writs to be further extended to permit the outstanding writs to be returned. The court is expected to hear directions of the matter on Monday (Aug 8) at 9.30am.

“As we know, millions have been denied the right to vote and violence in this election has been the norm. Communities have been and continue to be at war instead of participating peacefully in the elections.
“The rushed nature of how these elections started with evidence of widespread illegal ballots, suitcases stuffed with cash, illegal army uniforms being worn and weapons brandished to intimidate voters and even killings to make voters submit to a certain political persuasion have become the norm.
“The common roll was not updated and was late in being distributed. Senior statesman such as Bart Philemon went to vote and was told, incredulously, that he could not vote because he was not on the roll. Sadly, this story was repeated around our country. In West New Britain election observers reported that over 50 per cent of eligible voters were not able to vote.”
“In the application to the Supreme Court, an action I did not take lightly, I seek clarification on the appropriateness of the first meeting of Parliament (on) Tuesday and the legality of the invitation being extended to the party with the most declared seats being able to nominate a candidate for the position of the prime minister.
“I have also asked for the court’s interpretation of inconsistencies between the Organic Law of Political Parties and Parliament Standing Orders in addition to requesting the Supreme Court interpret and provide direction on the denial of rights of many to have a voice in Parliament if the writs in their electorate are not returned by Friday afternoon.”

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