The National, Friday July 20th, 2012
By JEFFREY ELAPA
THREE People’s National Congress party candidates were leading in the Southern Highlands as counting continued and entered the second day of elimination yesterday.
In the Nipa-Kutubu open electorate, Jeffery Komal was leading with 17,014 after exclusion seven, Francis Awesa was maintaining his lead for the Imbonggu open with 18,425 after elimination 9 and regional candidate William Powi had surged to 78,581 while his rival Joseph Kobol was on 50,836.
PNG Party candidate Isaac Joseph kept his lead for the Mendi open after elimination nine.
Still in the race are nine candidates, including Komal and Steven Andayo, who received 15,497 after overtaking Philemon Embel, who was in third place with 15,031 votes after the seventh elimination.
David Ongol, a former policeman who had collected 4,704 votes, was eliminated yesterday.
Others in the race are Tony Kila 13,241, Stanley Waip 9,159, Robert Kopoal 5,035, Maxuel Konop 6,282 and Lawrence Olkoben 7,708 votes.
In the Imbonggu open, 11 candidates were still in, among them Awesa and Pila Niningi. Cedrick Kengi is expected to be excluded.
For the Mendi open, four eliminations were expected today and the winner should be declared on Saturday.
Those in the race are De Kewano in second place with 16,026 votes, Terry Gaso 14,278, Michael Nali 14,090 and Phillipus Masa Hapon on 11,432 while Charles Altomo received just 6,761 and is expected to be eliminated today.