by Kiwiana Ngabung – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
The Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission hopes to make this National General Election inclusive and fair.
Observing past elections, the commission hoped to improve on the inclusiveness of candidates and voters.
This year there are more women contesting the elections compared to the last election in 2012. Preliminary figures from the EC shows over 150 female candidates nominated this year, which is about an 18 per cent increase from 2012. This is a gradual change Papua New Guinea is taking towards including more female participation.
Also for voters, Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato told EMTV News that he has instructed his officials to organise two lines at polling stations. This is an approach the EC is looking at to avoid girls and women being mistreated by other disrespectful voters, as observed in past elections.
The Express Lane will give every voter a chance to cast their vote without intimidation from others. And it is also for people with special needs – another group of minorities whose participation counts just as much as any other citizen.
In an interview with EMTV News, Callan Services National Unit Director, Br Kevin Ryan, said persons with special needs will be guided to make their own decisions on who to vote for, without harassment or threats.
Additionally, strengthening their move in improving from previous elections, the commission had launched their Voter Awareness Materials.
The materials are intended to educate Papua New Guineans about voting processes and welcoming the participation of citizens.
This also goes in line with the theme for this election “Your Choice Protect our Democracy”, pointing out the importance of every individual’s participation in the election for the future of PNG.