16 Dec 2009

Lessons learnt from PNG by-election fiasco

3:51 pm on 16 December 2009

Education in civics, improved electoral management, better policing and gun control are vitally needed in Papua New Guinea where the Kandep by-election has shown democracy is under threat.

That's the view of the executive director of the Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker, after the by-election, which has returned former deputy prime minister, Don Polye, was marred by levels of violence and intimidation not seen in years.

At least two people died, government buildings were burnt down, and vote counting had to be moved from Enga province after candidates' supporters ran wild.

Mr Barker says this can be changed by more effective policing, better preparation of the electoral rolls and instructing the people in how politicians are expected to behave.

"And we have really got to reduce the level of weaponry that's out there in the rural areas. And that really requires a very broad based will, led by the people at the top to really get this country to become, to move towards a weapons free land, in everyone's interest."


Paul Barker . of the Institute of National Affairs