by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV News, Lae
Papua New Guinea University of Technology (Unitech) students have begun a voting process to establish legal grounds for an indefinite boycott.
Electoral Commission officials present at the polling have indicated that nearly all students at the university have voted.
Students are in the second week of protests demanding the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, step down and for the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate to be reinstated.
Meanwhile, at least one of the demands has been met with Matthew Damaru reinstated.
However, the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate remains closed and talks are ongoing between the directorate and the Police Commissioner to have the office reopened.
Unitech students have gone into voting to find out exactly where the majority of the student body stands in regards to an indefinite boycott to make sure their demands are heard.
“The purpose of the referendum is for later reference, if anything happens, we will show it to our lecturers, or MPs, the government, we have filled this one,” says Larson Pepaso, a final year Accounting student.
The students were voting by showing their identification cards.
Their votes will either put a stop to the boycott, or allow the boycott to continue.
“You should be proud of your country, but with the country going in a downfall state, it’s not to be,” says student, Valarie Popal.
While those for the boycott have been very vocal about their support, those against it have this opportunity to say no in a democratic vote.
Electoral Commission officers were at the university from Thursday morning facilitating the voting.
“If they keep flocking in to cast their votes it may end at 4:06 pm,” says Electoral Commission Officer, Newman Wailio.
The student body’s numbers need to be two quarters of the total population of around 3,038 students enrolled in order for the boycott to happen.