Extend deadline: Official

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MADANG’s Election Manager Sponsa Navi wants another extension to the return of writs date, because of the slow progress of counting in the province.
“I don’t know if we can make the deadline set (Aug 5),” he said.
Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai said early this week that he was committed to returning the writs to Government House by 4pm tomorrow as scheduled.
As of 5pm yesterday, the four districts of Bogia, Usino-Bundi, Sumkar and Middle Ramu had competed quality checks and went into the elimination stage.
Rai Coast was also into the elimination stage with female candidate Kessy Sawang leading.
Navi said the success of this election now depended on the speed of the counting officials.
Meanwhile, Usino-Bundi MP Jimmy Uguro is urging the media to balance their reports.
Uguro denied a recent report in which Madang Governor Peter Yama claimed he (Uguro) had been meeting election and security officials at a location in Madang town.
Police are investigating the claim by Yama that Uguro, Yangoru-Saussia MP Richard Maru, Provincial Election Manager Sponsa Navi, Provincial Police Commander acting Supt Mazuc Rubiang and regional candidate Ramsey Pariwa were all seen at the location.
Uguro said he was at the Madang Golf Club restaurant to meet with families of a late former MP for Usino-Bundi.
“That was why I was there.
“Plus, it’s a public venue.
“Anyone can go there if they want,” he said.
“I totally deny (Yama’s) accusation as nothing of such transpired.
“My wife and I and two of our relatives were having dinner at the Madang Golf Club restaurant with my elder brother’s son, who is a policeman attached with the Police Mobile Squad and based outside Madang town.
“He came with two of his colleague policemen.
“The PPC (Rubiang) and Provincial Election Manager (Navi) were not having dinner with us at that time nor was Ramsy Pariwa.
“Yama’s asserting that I was having dinner with these persons is a complete lie and a fabrication of the highest order.”

Women deserve seats in Parliament: Dame Kidu

FORMER Moresby South MP Dame Carol Kidu says women deserve to be in Parliament and hopes that those currently among the top five candidates in their electorates as counting progresses will win.
Dame Carol, who is in Australia, told The National via email that she had groomed eight women in the 2017 general election but none won.
“For eight months, I worked with eight excellent women who had done well in 2017.
“They all deserve to be in Parliament and hopefully at least two will win seats in Parliament,” Dame Carol said.
The Electoral Commission confirmed that 142 women candidates contested the 2022 General Election (GE22).
In 2017 there were 167.
In the GE22, the number of candidates had decreased by 25 but the number of seats had increased from 111 to 118.
Of the 142 women who contested, only a handful made it to the top five placing.
They include Rufina Peter (PNC) vying for the Central provincial seat, People’s First Party candidate Kessy Sawang and People’s National Congress Party candidate for the Sohe Open seat Delilah Gore who finished third.
According to a report from the Commonwealth Secretariat, PNG is one of the only four countries in the world which has no female member of Parliament after the 2017 national election.

Scrutineers no-show delays Madang eliminations
Electoral Commission counting officials taking ballot boxes from the Iabu local level government, in Bogia, Madang for the counting of the Madang regional seat yesterday. – Nationalpic by GLORIA BAUAI

A NO-SHOW by scrutineers for the 36 Madang regional candidates on Tuesday further delayed the progress of eliminations, says assistant returning officer Albert Ului.
“Madang has today and tomorrow to rush its regional eliminations and declare a governor before the return of writs at 4.06pm, Aug 5 (tomorrow),” he said.
“Our officials’ checklist was finalised on Tuesday and we were supposed to start.
“But only Peter Yama’s scrutineers out of a total of 37 candidates came so I couldn’t allow the counting to commence.
“Each candidate must have one scrutineer represented in the counting venue.
“By law we can start with half the total number of candidates represented by scrutineers.
“But because other districts have not completed their primary counts, their scrutineers were scattered at these venues.
Ului confirmed that eliminations only started yesterday after midday, starting with first seven boxes from Bogia’s Iabu local level government (LLG).
He said Bogia, Usino-Bundi and Sumkar were the first to complete their primary counts on Tuesday.
“For now, we can only do quality checks, and total their LLG scores into electorate accumulative and wait for the remaining Madang Open, Middle Ramu and Raicoast regional primary results,” he said.
“Our plan now is to work three eight-hourly shifts 24-hours to beat the deadline and not entertaining unnecessary suspensions.
“We have 120 counting officials and can increase it if the need arises.
“I believe if the three remaining districts compete regional counts within the time frame, we can be done by Friday.”

Dept planning to build offices for new electorates: Gelu

THE district offices for the seven new electorates are yet to be built and will be a priority of the new government, says Department of Provincial Affairs and Local Level Government secretary Dr Alphonse Gelu.
He told The National that because funding had not been made available prior to the creation of the new districts, nothing could be done as yet.
The department has already started talks with the Northern provincial administrator on human resources for the new district headquarters.
“Our discussions were focused mostly on the human resource side for the new district, district headquarters, creation of the District Development Authority and the re-organisation and proclamation of the wards and local level governments in the new districts,” he said.
“Of course we would need to work with the Department of Personnel Management on recruitment and the Department of Finance on funding,” he added.
Returning Officer for Delta Fly Dilas Muli told The National that election officials for Middle Fly and Delta Fly were working out of the office in Kiunga.
Muli said he was looking forward to the establishment of the new district office.
The new electorates are:

  • MIDDLE Fly was split to create Delta Fly;
  • KAIRUKU Hiri split into Hiri-Koiari and Kairuku;
  • IJIVITARI split into Popondetta and Ijivitari;
  • TALASEA split into Nakanai and Talasea;
  • BULOLO split into Wau-Waria and Bulolo;
  • KOMO-Margarima divided into Komo-Hulia and Margarima; and,
  • LAIGAP-Porgera split into Porgera-Paiela and Laigap.

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