The Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has called for election delays to be put into perspective, noting that the 2017 National Elections are a dramatic change from the previous three elections where there was violence and the electoral process was hijacked.
Speaking from Mendi, Southern Highlands Province, the Prime Minister said voting in his province has been delayed by one day, but it is better to wait and ensure the process is run properly.
“While the delay is disappointing, we understand the hardship and the difficulties that election officials are going through,” PM O’Neill said.
“Putting this in perspective, I hear comment from Election Observers that delays like this are common in developing country elections, particularly with remote and rugged terrain and diverse cultures.
“Considering the issues officials have been dealing with, particularly from candidates and the public, as well as issues about common rolls and the verification of ballot papers, delays can be expected.
“It is important that polling is not rushed, but is undertaken in a careful and transparent manner.
“Issues about common rolls are being resolved by election officials, and we look forward to working through these processes and people exercising their constitutional right to vote.”
The Prime Minister said the leaders he speaks with are pleased with the manner in which the election is taking place and the public’s reception to the election process.
“Unlink previous elections, there is relative calm in this province and other provinces.
“People are going about their daily business, and they are looking forward to going to the polls and making their choice as to who they want to represent them over the next five years.
“Unlike the previous three elections, the 2017 election has been relatively calm, especially through the campaigning period.
“There has been very good campaigning conducted in our province, and around the region.
“This was not the experience of 2002, 2007 and 2012 where certain candidates hijacked the election process.
“People must not forget the failures and hardship or previous elections.
“In 2002 in Southern Highlands and Hela Province, there were seven failed elections.
“Today we had successful voting in Eastern Highlands Province, Chimbu, Hela, and now we have voting in Southern Highlands Province, Enga, Western Highlands and Jiwaka to go.
“As Leaders in the Highlands we are pleased with this progress and know it will continue.”
Source: Prime Minister O’Neill’s Media