Counting for the Kairuku-Hiri Open by-election is currently underway at the Institute of Public Administration in Port Moresby.
It was delayed till one o’clock this afternoon, due to the newly introduced electronic counting system.
However, polling officials say, it is progressing smoothly, and a winner is expected to be declared at the end of next week.
More than twenty candidates are contesting for the seat.
Senior Constable Idau Logana opened the container after lunch today and removed the eight ballot boxes in the presence of scrutinizers, polling officials and the police.
This by-election is the first in southern region to use electronic counting.
The system works like this, once the ballot box is opened; ballot papers are distributed to the stations.
At these stations, they are scanned and projected on white boards for the approval of the scrutinizers.
When approved, it is registered electronically. The papers are then moved into trays for manual counting.
Figures collected from manual counting are then checked against the figures from the electronic count.
The system is new and counting officials are slowly catching up.
After count seven, tallies slow that Heano Iduhu is leading the race with 3895 votes, followed by Peter Isowamo with 3164 votes and in third place Gavera Bitu with 2157 votes.
The sitting member, Paru Aihi is trailing in fifth position with just 2395 votes.
Counting officials say the counting will continue into the night.
More than thirty boxes are yet to be counted. Meantime supporter are still camping outside the IPA Hall.
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