18 Aug 2009

Call for more support for PNG returning officers after leading MP loses seat

3:41 pm on 18 August 2009

Transparency International in Papua New Guinea says the ousting of a senior Cabinet Minister for electoral irregularities show the need for greater resourcing for election officials.

Don Polye, who has been Deputy Prime Minister in a previous Government, was ousted as an MP after an opponent challenged his apparently huge victory in the Kandep seat in Enga Province in the 2007 elections.

in July of 2007 Mr Polye was declared the winner with nearly 90 percent of the votes, but this result was last week ruled null and void by the national court.

Transparency PNG's spokesperson, Richard Kassman, says it is important people don't allow such decisions to put them off the preferential voting system.

"I think the law is good law. I think it has helped Papua New Guineans - they need a lot of continuing education but it was the first time that we ran that system. I think, in principle, the system is good. What we have to do, we need some capacity and resource within the Electoral Commission, but more importantly, supporting the returning officers so they can make the decisions [that are already] within their power to make."