The National, Thursday 13th June 2013
By SHIRLYN BELDEN and MALUM NALU
NOMINATIONS for the 2013 local level government elections have been extended by two days and will end tomorrow, Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen announced yesterday.
The extension would enable all candidates to pay their fees before the close of nominations at 4pm tomorrow.
Trawen made the announcement late yesterday afternoon in Port Moresby following concerns raised by election managers, candidates and voters.
Many candidates said the long Queen’s Birthday weekend did not give them enough time to be nominated and pay their nomination fees.
“The PNG Electoral Commission has received requests from election managers and returning officers, including potential candidates for this LLG election, to extend the nomination period until Friday.
“The time frame was affected by the Queen’s Birthday holiday on Monday where banks were closed and candidates were unable to pay their nomination fees.
“Other considerations included the geographical locations and remoteness of various LLGs for assistant returning officers to accept late nominations,” he said.
However, Trawen said this would not apply to the Motu-Koitabu and Angoram by-election as nominations in the areas went well since last Thursday.
Nominations for 2013 LLG elections were scheduled to close at 4pm yesterday.
Trawen said all dates and schedules for the LLG elections remained unchanged.
Meanwhile, director of election operations Margaret Vagi said yesterday that 10 provinces had received their rolls with the rest towards the end of the week and early next week.
The 10 were Milne Bay (June 1), Madang (June 2), Western Highlands (June 8), Jiwaka (June 8), Gulf (June 9), New Ireland (June 6), West New Britain (June 6), East New Britain (June 12), Morobe (June 12) and Western (June 12).
In Morobe, election stations in Lae Urban and Ahi Rural LLGs closed nominations at 4pm yesterday despite the extension.
Morobe assistant election manager Fredah Joses confirmed late yesterday that at two nomination venues in Lae – Lae City Council for the Lae Urban seats and Ahi local level government chamber at Malahang for Ahi Rural, ballot box numbers were being allocated to candidates.
One female candidate is contesting the Ahi president’s seat while four others have been nominated for four of the 17 ward council seats.
Electoral Commission officials said nominations in the two areas closed without any major incident.
In the Angoram Open by-election in East Sepik, 19 candidates have been nominated as of 4pm yesterday.
The seat was left vacant following the death of sitting MP Ludwig Schulze in March this year.
Schulze of the Pangu Pati unseated National Alliance strongman Arthur Somare in the national elections last year.
Former East Sepik provincial administrator Samson Torovi is among a list of high-profile candidates, which includes former University of PNG academic Dr Kenneth Sumbuk.
The others are Jawa Matui, Michael Yasso, John Alman, Timothy Yangmari, Abraham Alok Ponga, Salio Waipo, Moses Gawi Sakurai, John Gawi, Lazarus Kenni, Peter Sam, Charlie Andrews, Luke Gawi, Stephen Mombi, Jeffery Balok Liversidge, Patrick Tangitban Wolly, John Maiben and Leo Alfred Unumba.