Suspensions force counting to slow down in Milne Bay

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 17th July, 2012

in Alotau

SUSPENSIONS due to petitions by scrutineers have slowed down counting for Milne Bay with 10 days to go before the return of writs on July 27.
Yesterday’s counting for Alotau open, Samarai-Murua open and Esa’ala open went into suspension mode while respective returning officers and their elections managers addressed issues before them.
Milne Bay elections manager Dadu Daga said that for the Alotau open, displaced ballot papers had already been transferred and the elimination count would start this morning.
He said quality checks on the primary counts were also done yesterday.
“It’s just minor security issues that the provincial police commander has taken care of already,” said Daga.
He said for Samarai-Murua Open, returning officer Hayden Abraham was waiting for written instructions from the Electoral Commission’s lawyer before he could resume counting.
He said the lawyer would be travelling to Misima Island, hopefully today, to deliver the written instructions so counting could resume.
“One of the candidates, Isi Henry, is alleging that another candidate was collecting more votes in his stronghold areas,” Daga said.
For the Esa’ala open electorate, Daga said the returning officer Michael Kape was also waiting for written instructions from the commission’s lawyer to resume elimination counting.
Daga said his team had enough time to complete counting and he was confident security personnel would ensure counting progressed despite the delays.