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June 29, 2022

Poll delays imminent as East Sepik goes to court over LLG President elections

By Scott Waide – EMTV News, Lae

The East Sepik Provincial Government is going to court to  determine if a National Executive Council  decision that disallowed the direct election of  Local Level Government Presidents is legal.

The  Supreme Court reference will seek to establish  if  the NEC  decision  followed proper legal protocols and abides by  the constitution of Papua New Guinea. East Sepik Governor, Allan Bird, said lawyers representing the ESPG  will be filing the supreme court reference  at 2pm this afternoon.

“We are also seeking a deferral  of the LLG elections,” he said. “Otherwise, the LLG elections will be null and void if the  courts declare the NEC decision unconstitutional after elections have been done.”

As per the NEC decision,  only ward members  will be elected. LLG presidents will be ‘appointed’ members of provincial assembly voted in by the ward members.  It is a similar process that happens after national elections when MPs choose the Prime Minister.

“The Prime Minister is an appointed position. The Prime Minister is appointed by other MPs. He is not elected.  We do not want that. We want LLG members who are independently elected  and maintain that independence.

“The Government has broken the law.  Both with this and the deferral of  local level government elections. LLG elections are supposed to happen within three months  after the end of the National General Elections,” Governor Bird said.

Similar concerns were raised two months ago by  former Morobe  Governor, Luther Wenge who said LLG members are, at present, illegally in office because the elections have been delayed by  two years.

“We have the money to pay for roads and fancy highways, but we don’t have money for  a process that maintains the backbone of our democracy,”  Allan Bird said.

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