By Theckla Gunga – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Inter-Government and Provincial Affairs Minister, Leo Dion, issued writs for two Local Level Governments (LLG) and three vacant wards in the Kandrian Gloucester and Talasea Districts in West New Britain this morning.
For Kandrian Gloucester, the seats were left vacant after the President passed away, while in Talasea the President was suspended on misappropriation charges.
Dion said provincial governments must ensure by-elections go ahead because people have rights to a leader.
“I urge again provincial governors to support by-elections of LLG or ward presidents, under the constitution, it is their mandated duty to conduct elections,” Minister Dion said.
The LLG by-elections will be co-funded by the West New Britain Provincial government and the electoral commission at a cost of over K400,000.
Dion said there are areas where these situations can be controlled and serious measures must be taken to minimise such matters.
“Deaths are a natural thing that we cannot control. But in places where presidents are not present to perform their duties, it is not acceptable,” he said.
“These leaders are elected by their people to represent them at ward levels and the failure to do so is injustice to the very people that elected them.”
Meanwhile, provinces that have completed their LLG by-elections include East New Britain, East Sepik, Milne Bay, Northern, Morobe and Manus.
New Ireland’s Matalai LLG and Simbu’s Kudiawa Urban LLG by-elections will soon follow.
Supplementary elections for the other six Highlands Provinces, apart from Simbu whose LLG by-elections have failed, are yet to be conducted.
These failed elections total 37 LLGs and 605 wards.
Nominations for candidates contesting the WNB LLG by-elections will close on December 2, with polling to commerce on December 9.
The writs will be returned in February 2016.