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Port Moresby
November 16, 2019
Featured Highlands News Your Vote 2017

Counting for Southern Highlands Regional Seat Moved to Western Highlands Province

Counting for Southern Highlands Regional has been moved to Western Highlands Province after an incident erupted last Friday with a death of a man.

Ballot boxes were transported yesterday to Mt Hagen Police station waiting for a counting venue to be selected and announced through a Gazette.

In separate press conferences today, Election Manager, David Wakias cleared issues in Southern Highlands, while Regional candidates call for the speed up of the counting.

A situational report in Mendi is that three people are confirmed dead since last Friday, and several others severely injured with knife and bullet wounds in relation to the Southern Highlands Regional Seat counting.

Election Manager, David Wakias, said the Electoral Commission Office directed him to move the counting from Mendi to Mt Hagen after the incident happened on Friday.

He clarified media reports that there are 131 ballot boxes which were brought down to Mt Hagen for counting.

They were in the elimination process when the incident happened, and none have reached an absolute majority yet.

Meanwhile, in a separate media conference today, three candidates who are running second, third and fourth in the elimination urged the Electoral Commission to speed up the electoral process or declare it a failed election.

Joe Kobol, who is currently running second refuted claims by the sitting Governor and first in the race, William Powi that there are 84 disputed boxes that needed to be counted.

Kobol said there are 18 disputed boxes and all the Regional candidates signed a Memorandum of Understanding to leave those boxes aside.

The Election Manager also confirmed that there are 18 disputed boxes which cannot be counted, as they are in the elimination process.

The third in the race, Jerry Kiwai, raised concerns about the cost involved in bringing the ballot boxes to Mt Hagen, its safety, and of the scrutineers, counting officials, and the supporters.

Kiwai said the process needs to speed up or be declared as failed.

Another candidate fourth in the race, Bernard Peter, warned the Electoral Commission not to take the boxes to other Provinces apart from Mt Hagen.

The three candidates also appealed for the new Provincial Returning Officer to be left alone to complete the counting.

The riot in Mendi has calmed down after the boxes were transported to Mt Hagen yesterday.

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