New Irelanders lose interest in by-elections

National, Normal

The National- Tuesday, January 25, 2011


THE New Ireland electoral office has reported lack of voting interest among voters in the last year’s by-elections for four local level government wards.

According to a report on LLG by-elections held last month, provincial electoral manager Edward Konu said the voting interest of the people in all the four LLG by-elections conducted in the province was not impressive. 

That reflected upon the amount of services provided at the people’s level by the councillors, he said.

In a statement, he said the lack of good leadership and poor decision-making process for service deliverance by elected leaders could easily cause adverse effects upon the voters’ interest in participating meaningfully at these lower government level actions.

Konu said the lack of voting interest by the people shown in last year’s by-elections for the four LLGs – Lovongai LLG vacant president seat, Kavieng urban LLG ward four councillor’s seat, Tikana LLG vacant president seat, Sentral Niu Ailan LLG vacant president seat, and Sentral Niu Ailan LLG ward one vacant councillor’s seat – was disappointing thus that had a bad reflection on the province.

Available statistics showed that according to the 9,794 total eligible voters’ enrolment for Lovongai LLG in 2007, only 3,037 voters turned up and actually voted at their polling booths last month. 

The Kavieng urban LLG ward four, according to the 2007 common roll, had 508 enrolled voters but only 171 (33.7%) people voted. 

Likewise, of the 693 eligible voters enrolled in the common roll for the LLG ward one on Tabar Island, only 248 voters turned up at their polling places to cast their votes, while the elections for the Sentral Niu Ailan LLG president seat saw only 3,438 people vote out of the total 10,5529 eligible voters.

The outcome of the by-elections is as: Essau Passingan was declared president elect for Lovongai LLG; Kavieng urban LLG ward four councillor’s seat was won by Japhet Mataitisairua of Nusa Island; the Sentral Niu Ailan LLG vacant president seat was won by Soka Toligai; and Timothy Karas won the Sentral Niu Ailan LLG ward one (Tabar Island) councillor’s seat.

The candidates, who were nominated and contested, for both the presidency and ward councillors’ vacant seats in all the LLG by-elections in the province, were eligible and qualified under the appropriate provisions of the organic law on provincial government and local level government elections.