The National, Wednesday July 4th, 2012
By SHIRLYN BELDEN
POLLING in most parts of the country has progressed well with counting already started in some provinces, according to Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen.
In an update on the general election, Trawen gave regional progressive reports which showed that most provinces were winding down on polling exercises and preparing for counting.
The commission expects counting to be completed in three weeks. The return of writs is scheduled for or before July 27.
In Morobe most polling has progressed well with little need for security. Counting is expected to commence in Lae tomorrow.
In Madang, issues on the size of polling teams have been resolved and polling is progressing well. A good number of polling teams have completed their polling.
Ballot boxes have been picked up and returned to counting centers.
In East Sepik, polling is progressing well and is expected to be completed within the polling period. There are now only 10 teams to complete polling. Weather has continued to affect the use of helicopters in some areas.
Trawen said he had received a letter from the Defence Force Commander Brig-Gen Francis Agwi that he would not allow counting for Yangoru-Saussia and Wewak open electorates at the Moem Barracks because of some serious allegations leveled against his officers. Alternative venues have been arranged. It means counting for East Sepik will be delayed.
In Aitape-Lumi open electorate, 56 out of 58 polling teams have completed polling. In the Nuku open electorate seven of the 16 teams have completed polling. In Vanimo-Green open electorate, 69 of the 80 teams have completed polling.
In Western, good progress is now being made with air support activities in the Western province. If there is no further interruptions all polling teams should be airlifted to their respective polling areas by today. Polling for the province may continue till July 11.
For Gulf, polling activities continued yesterday with most ballot boxes and other election materials returned by today. All polling activities are expected to be completed by Friday. But an analysis of polling team air movements in Gulf suggests that it may not be possible for all teams to complete by Friday because by then only two teams will have not completed their polling. Counting will still commence next Monday.
NCD counting was deferred from yesterday because of the non-payment of polling allowances to polling officials. This is yet to be resolved and counting for NCD commences today.
Polling in Central has been completed and the last polling team returned yesterday. All ballot boxes and documentation are in safe storage. Counting will commence next Monday.
Polling in Milne Bay is winding down and is expected to be completed by Friday. Counting for Milne Bay is expected to commence either Monday or Tuesday.
Polling for West New Britain is expected to end today. Counting is to start on Friday.
Polling is continuing for East New Britain and counting to start on Monday.
All polling activities in Manus have been completed. 19 of the 21 polling teams have returned and the ballot boxes are at the Lorengau police station. Counting was expected to commence yesterday afternoon at the Sahat hall in Lorengau.
In New Ireland, polling for Kavieng open is complete and all the polling teams have returned while polling for Namatanai will be completed by today or tomorrow.
Counting for the other areas starts today.
Polling in most parts of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville was expected to end yesterday. But a charted vessel is expected to arrive in Buka tomorrow morning to transport polling teams and materials around the Bougainville atolls. Polling is expected to be completed by Monday. A date for counting is yet to be set.
Counting continues in Mendi for all the electorates in the Southern Highlands province. Count was temporarily halted yesterday due to a disagreement that arose from the accidental counting of a contested box. However, the matter has been resolved and counting has resumed.
For Hela, counting began after midday yesterday in Tari and continues today.
In Enga, counting for Kandep and Wabag open electorates commenced yesterday.
WHP voting started on Monday and continues today.
In Jiwaka, polling has been deferred to today. However, preparations for the distribution of election materials to polling teams have commenced.
And for Chimbu and EHP, polling will commence on Friday.
A date is yet to be set for polling in EHP.