The National,Friday July 13th, 2012
KANDEP MP and T.H.E Party leader, Don Polye, is expected to retain his Kandep seat and be declared the winner today by collecting the absolute majority after the counting of the first preference votes.
A late start into the peaceful counting yesterday at the Wabag Primary school hindered the counting progress after two of Kandep’s ballot boxes were disputed.
Counting started at midday after the Electoral Commission’s legal officer on the ground and security forces gave the green light for the disputed boxes to be counted.
Counting was suspended after 5pm yesterday after count 67 with Polye leading with 23,678 votes, followed by Alfred Luke Manase on 11,318 and Sakias Yamala Tomao at 3,066 votes.
Only three boxes remain and will be counted this morning, and if Polye secures the absolute majority after the counting of the first preference votes, he will be declared winner.
The electorate has a population of at least 53, 000 voters but two boxes were disputed yesterday, and two others destroyed during polling with more than 3, 000 ballot papers.This gives Polye the opportunity to secure an absolute majority win if he collects enough votes in today’s counting.Enga Governor Peter Ipatas also maintains his lead by a clear margin followed closely by Kenneth Alo Korokali and Sandy Talita. Progressive reports could not be obtained after counting was suspended late yesterday.In the other Electorates, Wabag MP Sam Tei Abal leads by 12,154 votes after count 72, with Robert Ganim running second at 9,531, and Paul Kurai on third place with 7,877 votes.The last box set for counting was disputed yesterday and will hopefully be cleared for counting today when counting resumes. Counting for the seat is expected to enter the eliminations.
In Laigap-Porgera, after count 62, independent candidate Nixon Mangape leads the race with 14,542 votes followed by MP Philip Kikalaon 13,178, and Anton Pakenarunning third with 6,004. A total of 69 boxes are yet to be counted.Wapenamanda MP Miki Kaeok is running second with 8,136 votes, after United Party non parliamentary party leader Rimbink Pato overtook him on count 45 yesterday and is now sitting comfortably on 9,185. In third place is Warao Kareat on 3,975 votes, while 14 boxes remain yet to be counted.
Kompiam-Ambum is winding down counting of the first preference votes with four boxes left to be counted. After count 71, sitting MP John Pundari leads with 13,013, Patrick Balone on second place with 4,518, and Dickson Maki collecting 4,113 votes to run third.
Counting in the province has been peaceful compared to previous years where election related violence were rife.The ballot box storage area at the Wabag police station was bombed during the 2002 general elections, and despite similar threats, assistant commissioner of police and Enga operations commander Jim Mangae, said the election period was peaceful.
Provincial police commander Supt Martin Lakari and Mobile Squad 09 contingent commander, Peter Buka, who is also in charge of security operations on the ground, commended the people for ensuring free, fair and peaceful elections.