16 Jul 2007

Bad weather expected to extend PNG election further

7:53 pm on 16 July 2007

Papua New Guinea electoral officials are looking for ways to avert a possible constitutional crisis which could result if the election process is delayed further.

The poll has been plagued by bad weather and polling stations are still to open in some of the outer islands of Bougainville, meaning some votes will not be counted by July 30th when the writs are due to be returned.

Our correspondent, Alex Rheeney, says the Electoral Commissioner can push this date out but it will shorten time for negotiations on the formation of the new government which has to be completed by the third week of August.

"But the Commissioner, because of the bad weather problems as well as logistical problems consequently delaying polling in some electorates, he sees that the writs for the electorates will not returned on time by July 30th, so that will definitely mess up the schedule."