11 Jul 2007

PNG voting time extended - hopes that counting will not be protracted

11:56 am on 11 July 2007

Voting in the Papua New Guinea elections was to have finished today after 11 days of polling but rain throughout the country has caused major delays.

The poll has now been extended for five days.

The executive director of PNG's Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker, says despite the wet, the occasional violence, the theft of ballot boxes and ongoing problems with the roll, the poll has, so far, been more successful than in 2002.

But he says it will be crucial that these issues do not delay the counting process.

"The longer it is delayed the more opportunity there is for tempers to get frayed, for frictions to occur. And of course, at the moment, with the whole process the police have basically moved on from one electoral area to the next, and so the coverage in some of the provinces is obviously not as great in terms of security."