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June 25, 2021
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Southern Highlands Community Petition Gamato on Delayed Regional Counting

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Community leaders in Southern Highlands have petitioned the Electoral Commission over the delay in completing counting for the Regional seat.

The leaders say, despite the declaration of the four open seats, the regional seat remains vacant, with no voice on the floor of Parliament. They say, discrepancies must be sorted out, and the elimination stages in counting must commence.

The five Community leaders, who are from different areas in Southern Highlands, compiled a 3-page open petition for Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato to address the delays for the Southern Highlands Regional seat.

They say, Election Manager David Wakias must be held responsible, and Mr. Gamato must take action.

The total ballot boxes for the Southern Highlands Regional seat is 648 while only 462 have been counted in the past 6 weeks.

Out of the 102 yet to be counted, 84 were locked away by Mr. Wakias. The Community leaders strongly urged that these boxes must be counted.

They are also concerned about election related deaths in Mendi town, and damage to properties. They said the deliberate actions of the election manager have stirred the violence, and police must investigate.

The Southern Highlands Regional Seat is the only seat yet to been declared after the Simbu, Kandep Open and Eastern Highlands were declared.

The Community leaders say the Electoral Commission must do its part in making sure a leader is chosen for the good of the province.  11 Community leaders signed the petition and submitted it to the Office of the Electoral Commission today.

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