Sweeping poll changes mooted


Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has predicted that the 2022 election will face more complications than the 2017 election.
He has called on the Government to take heed of their recommendations to avoid the problems.
“We have experienced challenges with the existing electoral system and will proactively redress and reactivate recommendations to the Government.
Gamato said that he would be providing a report to Parliament based on the recommendations.
“These recommendations include the comprehensive review of the electoral laws and electoral reforms. The current framework could be revised to clarify legal, technical and procedural gaps and inefficiencies.
“Also there needs to be a review of the current electorates and boundaries. The last constituency review was done in 1977.
“The electorates have since recorded massive population growths during the ensuing 40 years. Review the Constitution to determine the ideal size of Parliament (number of seats), remove parliamentary veto powers over electorate creation, and legislate population growth as an automatic trigger to adjust boundaries for future parliaments.”
Gamato said the electoral administration needed strengthening for independence, neutrality, impartiality and efficiency of the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission (PNGEC) from the current single commissioner status to a board of three commissioners.
“This is to share responsibility, increase accountability, diversify perspectives, and align with best practice in election management bodies in the region and world.”
Gamato said that the PNGEC needed to be reorganised and electoral support from the inter-departmental election committee needed strengthening by law.
“And provincial electoral offices need to be decentralised to make the provincial administrators conduct elections for the local level governments with assistances from the PNGEC.”
Gamato said that they had made recommendation for the public display and verification of the common roll in all LLGs so that the people could examine the names and identify eligible voters in their respective wards.
“They can also update the roll by deleting names of the deceased and include eligible voters whose names are not on the roll.”