10 Apr 2012

PNG's O'Neill gives reasons for deferral of crucial step towards elections

5:51 pm on 10 April 2012

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says the situation with electoral rolls in the Highlands is of grave concern warranting a one month delay in starting the process towards elections.

Mr O'Neill says his cabinet has asked the Electoral Commissioner to defer the issue of writs so serious problems with PNG's preliminary rolls can be addressed.

Sally Round reports

"Mr O'Neill says both parties recognise it is important to allow voters the chance to inspect the rolls and the Highlands region is home to more than 51 percent of PNG's eligible voters. Mr O'Neill voted last week with the majority in Parliament for a six month delay in elections sparking outrage in the country. But he says at Monday's emergency cabinet meeting with the Electoral Commissioner, it was decided the vote is not binding on the Commission. Mr O'Neill says the delay over writs will not affect the polling dates already set and he acknowledged the independence of the Commissioner under the constitution. He says his position has not changed and he's said all along the general elections must take place as scheduled."