Parties get warning

The National, Friday July 15th, 2016

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has urged all political parties to prepare themselves for the 2017 general election, especially by way of encouraging their supporters not to cause trouble.
He said this week after the Registrar of Political Parties and Candidates, Dr Alphonse Gelu, expressed his disappointment at tardy preparations by political parties for next year’s general elections.
Both Gamato and Gelu were present at a political parties’ workshop in Wewak last week.
Gamato told The National  that he witnessed the Australian federal election last week where there was no need for security at polling areas.
He said this was what it should be like in an ideal Papua New Guinea.
“The onus was now on the parties to ensure there was no trouble before, during and after polling.
“Our theme this year is ‘Your Choice, Protect Our Democracy’,” Gamato said.
“It’s a notion of giving the choice of making that decision to the voters out there.
“The people must own the electoral process, they must accept the electoral process.
“I’ve just returned from Australia, witnessing the federal election, and in some polling stations there were literally no police personnel providing security.
“I hope that one day Papua New Guineans will change their attitude and start owning the electoral process.
“We don’t have to go and fight at the polling station – it’s the ballot that speaks.
“We should facilitate and allow the electoral process for the ballots to be used, so the ballot alone can speak forth and bring out a leader.”