Jana Zoriry – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) flagged Prime Minister Peter O’neill’s decision to defer the Local Level Government (LLG) elections to 2019 “unconstitutional” and “an assault” on democracy in Papua New Guinea.
Chairman of TIPNG, Lawrence Stephens said, the deferral was a complete breach of statutory and constitutional responsibilities and not consistent with the leadership that the people of Papua New Guinea deserved.
“The justification that funds set aside for the conduct of the LLG election need to be used for settling outstanding allowances to Councillors is deplorable. It indicates that it is the Government’s view that Constitutional Rights can be violated on the basis of poor fiscal management by state agencies,” says Mr Stephens.
Stephen outlined that according to Section 34 of the Organic Law on the Provincial and Local Level Government, the National and LLG elections should have concurrent terms.
He further stated that financial matters such as outstanding allowances was an administrative issue and should not be used as an excuse by the Government for the delay.
TIPNG has raised concern that such move to defer the LLG elections would set another bad precedent with disregard for the law being practised with impunity.
TIPNG also stated that such a move denies the people of Papua New Guinea to exercise their democratic right to periodically elect their local level governments.