By Vasinatta Yama – EM TV, Port Moresby
PNG Electoral Commissioner, Andrew Trawen, today announced the by-election dates for West Sepik Province and the Goilala Open seat. The elections will run concurrently, beginning on the 14th May this year.
A partial funding was released by the treasury department to start the elections.
The by-elections for the vacant West Sepik Provincial and Goilala Open seat have been confirmed by the Governor General, Sir Michael Ogio.
Both elections will start on the same date;
– the issuing of writs will be on Thursday, 14th of May 2015 at 4 o’ clock in the afternoon.
– nomination will go on for a week and close on the 20th of May at 4 pm,
– Poling will begin on the 11th of July, and run for two weeks and close on the 24th of July.
– The counting itself will begin straight after poling ends, and will go on for 3 weeks.
– The returning of writs will be on or before Thursday, 13th of August.
The by-elections were spurred due to the death of Goilala MP, Late Daniel Mona, and the election petition to former West Sepik Governor, Amkat Mai, for using under-aged kids to vote in the last 2012 election.
Now that the by-elections dates are confirmed, the PNG Electoral Commission will move forward in planning the conduct of the two elections.
Poling schedules will be put in place in the coming weeks, while the awareness teams will be dispatched to areas of West Sepik, where allegations have been raised in the elections petition to boost voter and civic awareness to avoid repetition.
Mr Trawen has finalised the appointments of the returning officers and assistant returning officers for the Goilala Open Seat and West Sepik Provincial.
Central Provincial Election Manager, Kila Egaba has been appointed as the Returning Officer for Goilala Open by-election. He will be assisted by Theodore Maia for Woitape LLG, Tumai Ipou for Tapini LLG, and Jeremy Tamatai for Guari LLG.
Election Manager for East Sepik, Kila Ralai has been appointed the Returning Officer for West Sepik Provincial by-election. He will be assisted by four returning assistant officers; Salote Kai for Vanimo-Green, Canisius Saweni for Aitape-Lumi, Francis Yawalan for Nuku, and Eddie Tobodi for Telefomin.
The PNG Electoral Commissioner restated that he cannot guarantee the successful completion of the two by-elections if funding was released on piecemeal basis.
On funding for both elections, the treasury department has released K2.5 million from the total K10 million for West Sepik Provincial, and another K2.5 million of the total K4.6 million for Goilala Open.
Meanwhile, polling for Pomio by-election will begin on the 9th of May, this year.