By: Jack Lapauve Jr – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The Member for Moresby North-West, Sir Mekere Morauta, today (29th March) renewed his call for a commission of inquiry into the 2017 election. This follows the release of a damning observer report by the Australian National University.
The report is a comprehensive account of the election, based on observer teams led by Papua New Guinean experts who covered 69 electorates in all four regions with detailed studies of 44 electorates.
The former Prime Minister is calling for a Commission of Inquiry for the 2017 National Elections. The ANU report claims the 2017 National Election was not free and fair, and therefore the O’Neill Government cannot claim legitimacy, and nor can Papua New Guinea lay claim to being a parliamentary democracy.
The report, released in Port Moresby this week, shows that fewer than half (47%) of citizens surveyed after the election reported being able to exercise their vote freely. This was influenced by factors of security, ballot boxes, bribery, polling, counting, electoral roll, and violence.
Another key finding was the extent that money politics influenced the election. An observer in Goroka described the use of money, “Money was ﬂowing like water in this election. It controlled the election.”
Sir Mekere says the growth of money politics and the danger it poses to democracy does have a greater influence.
He stated that a commission of inquiry should be a first step towards restoring and protecting democracy.
The report recommended that the independence of the Electoral Commission needs to be protected, and a whole new system of checks and balance introduced into the commission’s operations.
Concluding, the ANU report states that the 2017 elections did not improve from the 2012 elections and this described the elections as rigged and its operations were administered and influenced by individuals who wanted to maintain or gain power.
The report was released this week in Port Moresby and is available online.