PM expected to retain seat at end of primary count

National

By PETER WARI
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill is expected to be declared the winner of the Ialibu-Pangia seat on Saturday — for the fourth consecutive time.
By the end of counting yesterday, O’Neill had won 95 per cent of the votes. Returning officer Michael Ariando said the primary count would proceed to work out the absolute majority.
“We are expecting declaration on primary count after the remaining boxes are completed,”Ariano told The National.
After the counting of 58 boxes, O’Neill had 25,377 votes, Stanley Liria with 4196, Justus Rapula on 936 and Lenard Pangapea on 833.
There are 56 boxes remaining.
Ariando said ballot boxes for Ialibu-Pangia arrived last Thursday afternoon and counting started on Sunday evening. He said he would continue doing his work despite the allegations by some candidates that some security force officers had tampered with the boxes.
“I am a public servant and will continue with my work and follow the normal procedures for counting and declaration,” Ariando said.
“I have talked to scrutineers of each candidate and counting has progressed effectively.”
He said people criticising him and his team on social media would be dealt with later according to the law.

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