Supporters disrupt polls

National, Normal

The National, Thursday July 11th, 2013


A FIGHT between supporters of rival candidates at one polling location in Lae, Morobe, yesterday forced police to stop people voting.

Lae police operations commander Fred Kaiwa said the fight started at around 10.30am at the Raiscos Market, 4-Mile after allegations of double voting surfaced.  

Kaiwa said supporters of some candidates alleged “new faces” who did not live in the area had been taken there by a candidate to vote for him.

He said the allegation turned into quarrels that later developed into a fight where stones, sticks and other objects were hurled at each other by voters.

“Police were called in and they stopped the fighting,” Kaiwa said. “No one sustained serious injuries and all the ballot boxes are safe.

 “We stopped polling for security reasons. Only those who voted in the morning had their papers in the ballot boxes,” Kaiwa said.

He said the others who did not vote as a result of the fight would have to arrange with the provincial election manager to find an alternative day to cast their votes.

Kaiwa said other polling locations had generally experienced peaceful voting day.

He said the main concern raised by many voters at polling locations was that their names were not on the electoral rolls despite voting in previous elections.

“All ballot boxes for the Lae Urban elections will be kept at the Lae district office,” Kaiwa said.

“Police will provide tight security for the boxes until counting spots are identified and counting commences,” he said.