By Vasinatta Yama – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The Waigani Supreme Court made a ruling on five election petitions this morning.
Justice Collin Makail directed the Electoral Commission to immediately reconsider its decision to fail the elections of Presidents and Ward Members of various Local-Level Governments (LLGs), during the LLG elections in 2013.
Amongst others, the Presidents and Ward Members of the LLGs that were declared as failed and subject to these proceedings are:
Southern Highlands province
- Ialibu Basin LLG
- Kagua Rural LLG
Eastern Highlands province
- Goroka Urban LLG
- Gahuku Rural LLG
Western Highlands province
- Hagen Urban LLG
- Hagen Rural LLG
- Mul LLG
- Muglamp LLG
- Kotna LLG
- North Waghi LLG
The Electoral Commission says the reason why these LLGs were declared as failed, is that there was widespread corruption and illegal practices at polling stations and during counting.
This has resulted in the plaintiffs seeking a judicial review. They argued that the Electoral Commission’s power to fail the elections was not properly exercised and unreasonable.
Justice Makail reiterated the Supreme Court decision on this same proceeding in 2014, that the Electoral Commission’s decision to fail the LLGs was “blanket” or “lump”, describing it as an unreasonable exercise of power.
The Electoral Commission will now decide whether the election of each Ward Member within the LLG, including that of the President, should be failed.