by Theckla Gunga – EM TV, Port Moresby
The counting for the Goilala Open By-Election is winding down with a winner expected to be declared in the next 24 hours.
After elimination 17 at 4pm today, Pangu Party man William Samb is in front with 2,296 votes while National Alliance Candidate, Alex Robert has fallen to second place with 2,194 votes.
Independent candidate Mathew Poia is trailing in third place with over 1,890 votes.
With just hours before a winner is declared, counting officials are aiming to complete the elimination rounds by 12 O’clock come Monday.
John Koga from Woitape Local Level Government was excluded in the 16th elimination and Titus Girau from Tapini LLG, excluded in the 17th elimination.
Today’s counting was conducted under the watchful eyes of the 3 Assistant Returning Officers (ARO).
Though only 3 eliminations were done today; it was slower than yesterday’s counting, the ARO’s said.
Counting is expected to continue into the night until the 20th elimination is reached before it will be suspended for Day 7.
Meanwhile, counting for the West Sepik By-Election was affected by the continuous power outages in Vanimo.
Counting was suspended at 2pm, yesterday, as there was no balance on the progressive tally between the electronic transcript and the physical ballot papers.
Electoral Commissioner, Sir Andrew Trawen, has called on PNG Power to rectify the issue and allow the counting to proceed.
After count 7 yesterday, Independent Candidate Tony Wouwou is leading with 3,840 votes, followed by Oree Kpanombo on 2, 738, and in 3rd place PNG Party Candidate ousted governor and National Alliance Party man, Amkat Mai.