Donald’s election cancelled

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A court declared the election of North Fly MP James Donald null and void on Friday and ordered a recount.
Justice Collin Makail upheld a petition filed by Paiyo Bale, who was the third runner-up in the elections, and ruled that polling at the Nomad local-level government area by teams 26, 27, 28 and 29 for North Fly, was illegal.
The ruling was made at the Kiunga National Court last week.
The court ruled that by law, Nomad LLG was part of Middle Fly.
Makail said it was a bad decision by the election manager, returning officer and the election steering committee officials for North Fly “to conduct polling in Nomad LLG against gazettal notices prescribing the polling locations in Middle Fly and North Fly”.
“To maintain the current status, the first respondent, James Donald, will remain member for North Fly until the completion of the recount of ballot papers and presentation of result for approval by the court,” Makail said.
The court also ordered a reversal of the decision of the returning officer and the counting of the ballot boxes by teams at the Nomad LLG area, to be null and void.
The petition alleged five grounds, one ground was abandoned and the other grounds were dismissed during a no-case submission by the respondents during the trial.
The Electoral Commission was the second respondent in the case.
Bale finished third with 4351 votes, candidate Sam Auwi finished second with 5788 votes and Donald polled first with 8208 votes and was declared on July 28 last year.
Bale disputed Donald’s election on the grounds that two of the four disputed boxes for the Nomad LLG were wrongly admitted to scrutiny and the ballot papers counted were illegal. Bale argued that Donald won because of votes from disputed ballot papers.

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