The National, Friday July 20th, 2012
By ELIAS NANAU in Vanimo
PNG Party leader Belden Namah is leading his 27 rivals after all primary counts for his Vanimo-Green River open seat were completed on Wednesday.
Namah polled 5,960 votes, registering a commanding lead of 2,598 votes.
But he failed to muster the absolute majority of 11,617 votes.
His nearest rival is Willie Obow Inaru, who polled 3,382 votes, while the other candidates collected fewer than 1,000 votes.
Returning officer Peter Solo said they would head into elimination today after a quality check and he expected a declaration to be made early on Saturday morning or later that day.
Solo said there were 28 candidates and it was clear that the votes were spread out, with the lowest tally being 60 votes.
“Plenty candidates didn’t score well so it will take time,” he said.
Namah had set a commendable margin and he is in a safe position to win.
He will have to ensure he scored second preferences to extend his lead and eventually win.
The voting trend in the Vanimo Green River electorate indicated that voters from the inland areas of Imonda, Amanab and Green River block voted, giving Namah about 600 votes and the nine leading candidates were from these areas.
If this trend is replicated in the second preference votes, Namah could expect a surge from one of the other top five candidates from the inland areas, including Inaru.
In the Telefomin electorate, after the 11th elimination sitting member Peter Iwei was running second with 5,252, with Solan Mirisin leading with 5,368 votes.
There are 20 candidates including the sitting member contesting the seat.
In the West Sepik regional seat, after count 93 yesterday afternoon, T.H.E Party candidate Amkai Mai led with 11,782, followed by former governor John Tekwie on 5,450.
Governor Simon Solo was trailing at fourth with 4,271 votes but he is likely to jump with counting of votes now heading to his Lumi area.