GG approves extension of return of writs for Kandep

National, Normal

THE Governor-General has signed instruments for the extension for the return of writs for the Kandep by-election to Dec 17.
The extra week gives the Electoral Commission officials time to complete the vote count currently underway in Goroka.
The return of writ was originally set for today, but violence, change of venue, and complaints had caused a delay.
A lapse would have resulted in the Kandep by-election being declared a failure.
Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen visited the Governor-General yesterday to seek an extension.
In the vote counting centre in Goroka yesterday, half a day was spent on arguments between the scrutineers and election officials over the fate of the disputed boxes.
But election officials allowed votes in six of them to be counted.
This leaves 12 disputed boxes.
Scrutineers for candidate Alfred Manase walked out in protest when a ballot box from his stronghold area was set aside and not counted. Despite this, counting continued.
At the end of count 47, former Kandep MP Don Polye maintained a comfortable lead over the others.
Polye polled 12,597 votes (53.77%) and was ahead of Manase who had 4,464 votes (12.1%).
Independent candidate
Herman L Anep is running third with 2,852 votes.
Another independent candidate, Bee Pepo, picked up a surprising 657 votes from his Mambala stronghold to come into the fourth spot with 1,969 votes while Kenneth Andrew is in fifth place with 1,078 votes.
Counting continues today, however, counting officials and police were demanding the Electoral Commission to pay their extended counting, accommodation and other allowances by today.