The National, Thursday July 26th, 2012
TWO open seats in the Southern Highlands will be deliberated by the Electoral Commissioner.
Provincial elections manager David Wakias said the signing of the writs for the Nipa-Kutubu and the Imbongu open seats have been completed but the declarations would be formalised by the electoral commissioner.
He said the electoral commissioner has directed that no formal declaration would take place in Mendi but would be done in Port Moresby after receiving all the reports.
He said there had been issues that have arisen in the two open seats which forced the commissioner to decide before signing and formally declaring the winner.
For Nipa-Kutubu, the figures of the seven ballot boxes were not removed as directed while for Imbonggu, the returing officer who resigned two days after counting started decided to declare the runner-up in Mt Hagen while the winner was declared in Mendi, the central counting centre.
Jeffery Komal, a PNC candidate, was unofficially declared in Mendi by the assistant returning officer and acting returning officer Ambopai Ekai.
Although Ekai tendered his resignation, Wakias said that he did not approve his resignation.
Meanwhile, Awesa was officially declared in Mendi, infront of security forces, counting officials and the electoral commission officials while Niningi was said to have been unofficially and illegally sworn in by the returning officer Jeffery Pauwe.
Counting for the Regional seat continues and a winner is expected to be declared today or tomorrow with only 11 more eliminations to be made as of the time the paper went into printing.
William Powi was leading in the regional race with 97,292, while he was followed by Joseph Kobol on 61,771, jerry Kiwai on 31, 461, Vincent Mirupasi on
29,799 and Sylvester Komaba on 24,299.