Election regulations introduced

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PUBLIC servants who wish to contest the general election in 2027 will have to resign 12 months prior to the issue of writs, according to regulations introduced in Parliament yesterday.
From the next elections next year, those who are unsuccessful in the polls can be employed back in the public service only after five years.
Minister for Public Service Joe Sungi presented the amendments to the Public Services Management Act 1995, with parliament voting 87-7 for the amendments.
Prime Minister James Marape in support of the amendments said: “It does not prohibit the right of public servants to contest the election, it simply allows for public servants resigning to contest elections 12 months earlier.
“We are simply trying to eliminate professional candidates in the public service who just go in and out at will.
“We are trying to differentiate between genuine contestants who feel they have some space to contest in politics, they can resign 12 months (earlier).”
Sungi said that in making the amendments: “In a major consultative discussion on this matter, the Government believes that we need to draw the line so that the public service can operate on its own without the interference of those public servants who wish to contest the elections.
“Noting from past experiences that those who contested the elections and were unsuccessful, returned to the service and have always caused instability in the organisations. Their duty is to serve the State with full commitment or to leave the service and become politicians.”
One of those who opposed the amendment was Sepik Governor Allan Bird who said it was wrong and “demeans the decorum of the house”.
He said MPs had an interest in the Bill and that meant: “We are biased in our decision-making process.
“If we were sitting on a board in a private organisation, they would ask us to leave the room so that the decision could be made without us, so the principal is actually wrong in us trying to pass a Bill like this that would protect our positions,” he said.
“That’s the way the public would see it.
“As members of parliament, we must be making laws that the public can see is in the interest of public good.
“Right now our people are watching us because we just gave permission for this to be broadcast.
“Our people are going to think that because the elections are around the corner, we are making this law to protect ourselves.
“On that principal alone we can’t be doing this.”