By Annette Kora – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The date for the Return of Writs for the country’s Local Level Government elections has been deferred to Friday August 2nd. In announcing this, Inter-Government Relations Minister Pila Niningi said the deferral was due to unforeseen situational reports in several LLGs.
Minister Niningi said his ministry had received reports that newly elected ward councillors were being threatened, bribed and kidnapped and locked up on camps by those vying to become President and their supporters. Acts considered as criminal.
“I want to warn these councillors and presidents not to get involved with these illegal activities.”
Minister Niningi urged newly elected councillors to report to police or furnish a report to his office with evidence for his ministry to take appropriate actions – Further stating that he will not hesitate to dismiss those Presidents and Mayors elected through illegal means.
Niningi also condemned the violence and destruction of properties in certain LLG’s including innocent lives lost through these violent acts during the LLG elections.
“Those are things of the past. Today we must allow good conscious to prevail and respect the rights of individuals.”
“We must allow them to exercise their constitutional freedom to choose a leader. My biggest appeal and message to these leaders vying for the presidents seat to stop threat and intimidation at their level and give that mandate back to the ward councillors to vote in the President that they see fit.”
But whilst acknowledging these security issues, the Minister commended the Marape- Steven government for their part in the ensuring the elections in many parts of the country proceeding without incidents.
“Apart from the minor elements of crime taking place in certain LLG’s, 98 percent so far has proven a success rate for 2019’s LLG elections and this is good news for PNG.”
“I thank also the people of PNG for making it their responsibility and taking ownership of the Local Level Government elections.”
The seven day extension for the LLG elections will end this Friday which is when all writs are expected to returned. After all the writs are returned, additional instructions will follow on for the election of Presidents.