The Nationa, Monday July 16th, 2012
By ELLEN TIAMU
THE tussle for the Morobe regional seat is heating up as counting progresses throughout the province with the gap between Governor Luther Wenge and his nearest rivals closing in.
As of yesterday afternoon, he was leading on 42,900 votes while main rival Kelly Naru was within distance with a total of 42,199 votes.
Wenge held a commanding lead when counting began for the Nawaeb open electorate while the people in the Kabwum open electorate have given him his highest number of votes so far with 5,839 polls.
The two electorates have completed counting of preliminary votes and begin the elimination process today.
The incumbent governor has also fared well in Finschhafen and Lae electorates.
Philantropist Naru also held his own with the Nawaeb people commanding nearly 3,000 more votes than Wenge and more than 6,000 from the Markham people as of yesterday afternoon.
The Markham open electorate was nearing completion of the first elimination counts last night.
Running in third place in the regional seat is former Kabwum MP Ginson Saonu on 23,497 votes.
Educationist Murika Bihoro, academic Allan Sako and civil engineer Robin Yalambing have also managed to collect bulk votes from their strongholds and are still in contention in fourth, fifth and sixth places respectively.
Bihoro and Sako are from the Huon-Gulf district while Yalambing hails from Bulolo.
Communication problems with outlying districts have meant the running tally for the Morobe regional seat is not fully updated.
Preliminary counting continues for Lae, Menyamya, Bulolo and Huon-Gulf open electorates.