Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen announced that elections in 20 LLGs inthe highlands region were failed because of a number of chronic illegal practices atthe polling sit’s.
Amongthe issues werethe hijacking and destruction of ballot boxes and papers, ransacking of polling booths and lack of freedom to vote for females andthe elderly. “As Electoral Commissioner, I am seriously concerned aboutthe constant breach of election laws inthe highlands region, and many have gotten away with it because of isolation, and also because of dishonesty by those who are in charge.”
Enga, Jiwaka, Eastern Highlands, Hela, Southern and Western Highlands provinces have been listed. Western Highlands withthe highest number of LLGs with failed elections.
However,the Western Highlands provincial election steering committee said that no serious illegal practices such as those listed were carrlied out in any of its LLGs.
They have called onthe Electoral Commission to withdraw its decision becausethe reports received bythe commission, did not come fromthe steering committee, northe provincial police command and election manager.
Meanwhile, Mr Trawen said supplementary elections will be organized, but only when assurance is given by communities inthe listed LLGs that such illegal practices are not repeated.
“I warn all candidates and supporters that ifthere is any civil disobedience, violence or retribution as a result of my decision, this will clearly demonstrate to me that you are not prepared to change your ways,” warns Trawen.
Mr Trawen saidthe 2008 LLG elections ran smoothly. However this year’s LLG elections reported a large number of election laws being breached, for reasons only known to perpetrators.
Meantime, counting for the LLG elections inthe Western Highlands province continue.
Election Manager Philip Talape said most president and councilor seats have been declared. There were no major problems faced duringthe past three weeks of counting.
Mr Talape saidthe provincial election steering committee will seek legal advice before it takes futher action regardingthe Electoral Commission’s recent announcement that elections in five of its LLGs have been declared as failed.
He added it would be a costly exercise to carry out supplementary elections.
This year’s LLG elections were carrlied out on a 50 million kina budget.
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