The 24 candidates for the Southern Highlands Regional seat are against the transporting of their ballot boxes out of Mt Hagen City.
They said Mt Hagen is a neutral area for the Highlands Region and moving the boxes to Goroka or elsewhere will be too costly for them.
The 24 candidates are still waiting on the decision by the Electoral Commission’s office to move the counting to Goroka.
In a media conference today in Mt Hagen, the 24 Southern Highlands Candidates excluding the sitting Governor, William Powi, again warned the Electoral Commission not to transport the 131 ballot boxes out of Mt Hagen.
They say if EC failed to comply, they will withdraw and return to Mendi with their supporters and scrutineers and will not attend the elimination process in Goroka.
The 24 candidates say Mt Hagen is more secured and security is guaranteed.
Before escorting the ballot boxes to Mt Hagen, they were thoroughly checked by the security forces and they say they respect the people of Western Highlands Province.
All they want is to see the elimination process in Mt Hagen, which might take two to three days to declare a winner.
This is the eight day for them and their supporters in Mt Hagen after the boxes were transported from Mendi due to election related deaths.
They expected counting will to resume in Mt Hagen immediately, however, the delaying is costing another week of accommodation expenses.
They are appealing to the Electoral Commissioner to respect their rights and have the boxes counted in Mt Hagen. Meanwhile, the Western Highlands Provincial Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Martin Lakari urged the supporters and the candidates to respect the City and its people and behave.
The Western Highlands Provincial Administration has given them green light to count in Mt Hagen.