The National, Tuesday July 24th, 2012
THREATS and intimidation will not stop the Electoral Commission from carrying out its constitutional duties, Andrew Trawen says.
Trawen, the Electoral Commissioner, said even members of his family had received threats although he did not elaborate on the type of threats they had received.
He said election managers, officials, returning officers and legal advisers had been intimidated and threatened by people including the supporters of candidates.
Trawen said he had reported the matter to police who were investigating.
The threats were in relation to recent decisions his election managers had made to withhold the counting of disputed ballot boxes in some electorates.
“I must let the people of Papua New Guinea know that as your electoral commissioner, I will stand by my decisions and will not deviate from them,” he said.
“I will not be swayed by any form of intimidation or threats to safeguard the integrity of elections in Papua New Guinea.
“I will not tolerate any form of intimidation or threats issued against my election managers, returning officers, assistant returning officers, legal advisers and me personally or our families in relation to decisions we make to freely, fairly and safely deliver the elections.”
Trawen said candidates and their supporters must know that the office of the electoral commissioner was a neutral and independent constitutional office protected by the constitution.
“My office is not subject to any direction or control by any authority,” he said.
Trawen said the organic law on the national and local level government elections was very clear on the conduct of democratic elections in the country.