By Vanessa Knight – EM TV, Port Moresby
The Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission is gearing up for the Goilala Open and West Sepik Provincial Seat by-elections, which they hope to conduct in the coming weeks.
The Goilala Open Seat was left vacant following the death of sitting MP, Daniel Mona early this year, whilst the West Sepik Provincial seat resulted from the Supreme Court’s decision to nullify the 2012 election win of Amkat Mai.
The Goilala Open by-election is expected to cost K4.6m, while the West Sepik Provincial electorate by-election is expected to cost K10m.
The by-elections are expected to commence once the estimated funding is approved, and returning officers and assistant returning officers are appointed by the PNGEC.
Electoral Commissioner, Andrew Trawen said dates for the Issuing of Writs will be confirmed after consulting the governor general; however, the commission is strongly considering the end of this month or early next month to commence the by-elections.
News of the by-election will come as relief for the people of Goilala, who went as far as raising concerns through the media, for the need of a leader to bring much needed service delivery into the electorate.
Mr Trawen said the commission had to give ample time for relatives and people of Goilala to mourn and fulfill customary obligations for the untimely passing of their late member, before commencing with the election of a new leader.
Commissioner Trawen explained, that in contrast, the commission was ordered to immediately conduct a by-election for the West Sepik Provincial seat by the Supreme Court.
However the Electoral Commissioner also stressed that the PNGEC will not plan or prepare for any by-election cases which are still before the courts, as this could be an act of contempt of court.
Meanwhile, the Pomio by-election has entered the campaigning stage, and is progressing efficiently with polling set to begin on Saturday the 9th of next month.
In the Sinivit Rural LLG supplementary elections, a total of 11 candidates are contesting the president’s seat.
In the supplementary elections for ward members, Samson Suru was declared winner unopposed being the only candidate nominated for the Marambu Ward, while Christopher Toviri was also declared winner unopposed for the Manigugule Ward, and Francis Kokorong for Uvol Ward 6.