The people have spoken….23 new open members of parliament were elected throughout the highlands region representing 68 % of the 34 open seats in the region.
For the regional seats in the highlands, only Hela and Southern Highlands Provinces have declared their new members in Anderson Agiru and William Powi while the other five provinces are expecting to make their declarations today, the day of the return of writs.
In total, 36 seats have been declared in the highlands so far with only the five provincial seats remaining to be declared.
Electoral Officials in Western Highlands, Simbu and Eastern Highlands said they have been working day and night to ensure declarations is made anytime today.
A total of 8 seats were won by PNC in the highlands followed by independents with 6 seats, Don Polye’s THE Party and Peter Ipatas’ People’s Party won 4 seats each in the region, United Resources Party won 3 seats…one in Western Highlands and 2 in Jiwaka, PNG Party won 2 seats…one in Hela and the other one in Simbu while People’s United Assembly, United Party, PNG Constitutional Democratic party, PNG country Party and Stars Alliance Party each won a seat in the region.
Interestingly all open electorates in Eastern Highlands have new members except for Ungai Bena, who returned the incumbent, Benny Allan.
For electorates in Simbu province, only Lukas Dekena and Tobias Kulang retained their seat, the others lost it to new Mps. The notable one being the Sinasina Yongomugl seat occupied by speaker Jeffery Nape now won by prominent lawyer Kerenga Kua.
And even though declarations have been made for Nipa Kutubu and Imbongu electorates in the Southern Highlands Province, electoral commissioner Andrew Trawen is yet to come up with a decision on these declarations.
While the election process is now coming to an end as lobbying intensifies for the formation of the new government, elections in the highlands were conducted peacefully compared to previous elections.