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.