by Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The new Chief Electoral Commissioner says he has many challenges ahead of him.
Most of them are financial that require urgent government support.
Patilias Gamato said during his swearing in ceremony today that he will be raising these matters with Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, for the successful conduct of the 2017 national elections.
Gamato assumes office at a challenging time for the Electoral Commission, just one year away from the 2017 national general elections.
Concerns raised from the Chief Justice on the 2013 failed LLG elections are among a list of competing priorities that the new Chief Commissioner needs to deal with, priorities such as reviewing electoral boundaries and updating electoral rolls, all of which need funding, funding that the Commission does not have.
“What I intend to do is pay a courtesy call to the Prime Minister, so that the government is aware of the Electoral Commission needs,” Gamato said.
For 2016, the Electoral Commission has been allocated K10 million, which is K170 million less than what they need to cover election preparations alone.
“The actual budget proposal for 2016 election preparation was K180.3 million,” Gamato said.
For now they will use the K10million to start work on the electoral roll updates.
“Electoral roll cleansing is important, we want to get the roll right, maybe it will not be 100 per cent right but better than the previous electoral roll.”