Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said the country did not need opportunistic statements being made by politicians about the elections and the common roll.
“I’m fed up with all this political opportunism. It is not the job of politicians to run elections. That is the job of the Electoral Commission,” Mr O’Neill said.
He said this after Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah called a media conference on Thursday and accused the Prime Minister of “crying over spilled milk” by allowing the elections to go ahead when Parliament had voted to defer it by six months.
Mr Namah pointed his fingers at the Prime Minister for the problem of many voters not having their names on the Common Roll. He alleged that Mr O’Neill had collaborated with the Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen to hold the elections according to schedule when the Common Roll was not ready.
But the Prime Minister rejected this claim by Namah.
Mr O’Neill said he had no authority to defer the elections. The job of running an election, and setting the schedule for it, belongs to the Electoral Commission. They are mandated with that constitutional responsibility.
He said and as Prime Minister, my job is to protect that institution.
He added that the motive to defer the elections by six months has little to do with the preparedness of the Common Roll, or lack of it, by the Electoral Commission.
The Prime Minister said while it was a worry many eligible voters turned up at polling stations to find their names missing, the Electoral Commission has the authority to use a Supplementary Roll.
He said he had gone on record and publicly asked the Electoral Commission to consider using the Supplementary Roll in circumstances like this.
He said for future elections, his government would introduce the biometric system to eliminate the problems associated with the Common Roll.
“Such a system will eliminate these problems, and greatly reduce the cost of holding an election,” Mr O’Neill said.