29 Apr 2003

Electoral rolls in PNG's Southern Highlands poll not an issue this time

4:33 pm on 29 April 2003

Papua New Guinea's Acting Electoral Commissioner says polling in Tari in the Southern Highlands went smoothly yesterday with no reported incidents of violence or voting mishaps.

Andrew Trawen says the use of the 2002 electoral rolls has not been an issue unlike last year's general poll.

He says people have been cooperative and have accepted the roll's inaccuracies which includes ghost voters and exclude a number of eligible voters.

Last year's elections in the Southern Highlands were declared to have failed because of violence, ballot tampering and disputes over the electoral rolls.

Tari and Mendi townships were the most violent areas during last year's poll.

Mr Trawen says the smooth running of vote is because of the level of security provided by the defence force and police.

"Unlike in the previous elections where we have people being harrassed, not this time..... People who have other motives, find it very difficult to penetrate, or to come in and do all those illegal activities. In some areas they just call out, and the people come forward and give their names and receive the ballot papers and whatever.......and those not called out were told that they were not on the rolls, and just went away."

Andrew Trawen, PNG's Acting Electoral Commissioner.