Hela by-election dependent on security report

The National, Wednesday July 13th, 2016

ELECTORAL commissioner Patilias Gamato says he is awaiting a security assessment report from Police Commissioner Gari Baki before making a decision on the Hela regional by-election.
He said this yesterday after Chief Secretary and inter-department election committee chairman Isaac Lupari said the by-election was dependent on the security assessment report.
Gamato reiterated that the by-election must proceed.
“Under the law, we have to conduct a by-election,” he told The National yesterday.
“My position is that I will be talking to the police commissioner to give me an assessment of what’s happening on the ground, in light of the different views and the political situation that’s been created in the provincial assembly by having two (acting) governors.
“Then there’s the view that the election should be left until 2017.
“As you know, time is against us. Secondly, I have to secure funding from the Government.
“The third thing is the security aspect. I don’t want my officers to go in (to conduct the by-election) and be caught in the crossfire by rival groups.
“It’s a democratic process and our people must freely go in and conduct elections.
“That’s important for Hela province.”
Gamato reiterated the call he made last week for Hela leaders to work together and allow the by-election process to take place.
“I’ll be talking to the police commissioner to see how we can do that,” he said.
“If the security assessment is good, we will definitely talk to the Government and see if they can provide funding so that we can go ahead with the by-election.”
Gamato said he expected the police security assessment to be completed as soon as possible to allow the by-election to go ahead.
“The timing (of by-election) will very much depend on the assessment report that I get from police,” he said.