The National, Friday July 20th, 2012
PAPUA New Guinea’s government must embrace this year’s national election experience in order to set the pace for future democratic successes, a researcher says. It can start by establishing an open and accountable government that acted fairly in carrying out all its responsibilities including the national election where democracy is vital at all levels.
In a commentary on the elections released this week, Edward Pulagis, of the National Research Institute, highlighted several points to be considered when focusing on building democratic successes in the future.
“Despite the fact that the general performance of polling and counting in recent weeks has hurdled through so many obstacles and setbacks, the importance of a progressive Parliamentary democracy and elections must be the yardsticks for PNG’s long term commitments,” he said.
Pulagis said the new government should advance preparation of the electoral roll and be accountable for setbacks experienced during the national election.
He emphasised that updating of the roll, not manipulating it and having to answer to related problems, is democratic.
The electoral roll update is one example lacking planning, oversight and accountability, the other includes the logistics and technical assistance to ensure the ground work of the elections run smoothly.
“Failure to the completion of the electoral roll is due to the fact that on one side, the government of the day failed to check on the incompetency, corruption and tyranny in the public bureaucracy in especially the Electoral Commission.
“Such an audit should be carried out well in advance with problem areas identified for deliberations before the national election are carried out.
“Therefore, did the government of the day and the respective institutions show accountability in the disposal of their powers and duties?
“Prior to the national elections did they act upon criticisms or requirements made of them, and accept some responsibility for failure, incompetence, or deceit?
“These are simply questions reflecting on the need or importance of ensured accountability and effective communication links between the government and society,” he said.