24 Jul 2002

PNG electoral commission foresees no constitutional crisis because of poll problems

10:33 am on 24 July 2002

Legal counsel for the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner says moves to declare the elections in the Highlands a failure will not lead to a constitutional crisis.

John Nonggor says Commissioner Reuben Kaiulo is seeking clarification on whether he has the authority to declare polling in the Southern Highlands and Enga Provinces a failure and to hold supplementary elections there.

Mr Nonggor says election writs for the two provinces will not be returned as planned by Monday because crime has disrupted polling there.

He also says declaring the elections a failure will not affect parliament's first session on August the 5th.

"The 29th of July still stands. Most of the writs are going to be returned by then and therefore most of the electorates will have people elected already and therefore there is unlikely to be a constitutional crisis. If anything there may ten or nine electorates not represented when the parliament resumes because criminal activities have hijacked the process."

John Nonggor

A statement from the office of the Electoral Commissioner says counting of votes from five of the seven Southern Highlands seats has been transferred to Western Province under extra police protection.