15 Dec 2009

Polye wins Kandep seat in PNG after violent by-election

10:08 am on 15 December 2009

Papua New Guinea's former deputy Prime Minister Don Polye is to be declared winner of the Kandep by-election after he polled well over 54 per cent of the first preferential votes at the close of counting in Goroka.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that Electoral Commission officials at the counting in Goroka have confirmed that Mr Polye will be declared the winner after he collected 18,621 votes from first preferences from the total of 36,304 allowable votes counted.

To win and retain his seat, Mr Polye needed 50 per cent of the votes.

Local petitioner and lawyer Alfred Manase was the runner-up with 8018 votes.

Goroka town erupted yesterday with celebrations by supporters of Mr Polye and the ruling National Alliance Party.

Mr Polye called on his supporters to be calm and let the counting process continue to the end.

The Kandep by-election was riddled by problems with loss of lives due to a series of violent clashes between supporters of different candidates and police, changes of counting venues, as well as complaints over ballot box distribution.