Ultimatum for PNG Electoral Commissioner

3:14 pm on 1 June 2017

Papua New Guinea's Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has been given a seven-day ultimatum to revoke the appointment of two electoral officials in Western Highlands.

The Post Courier reported that twelve candidates for the Mt Hagen open seat had objected to the appointment of returning officer Paul Goimba and assistant returning officer Andrew Kerowa.

The candidates have presented a petition, signed by 5000 people, warning that they will shut down Kagamuga International Airport if Mr Gamato fails to meet their ultimatum.

According to them, Mr Goimba and Mr Kerowa's previous performance in the roles in that electorate had been full of controversies.

PNG Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato.

PNG Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato. Photo: EMTV

Mr Gamato has said there would be no changes to returning officers' appointments.

He said evidence of transgression must be presented to the courts to change a returning officer.

However, the candidates have urged Mr Gamato to use his constitutional powers to revoke the appointments of the pair and replace them with officers from other areas..

The 2012 Hagen Open runner-up and Independent candidate James Yoka Ekip claimed that 22 ballot boxes had been set aside that had denied people of Hagen Open their democratic rights to vote a leader of their choice.

Another issue raised was that the roll had been inflated from 3500 to 11,000 voters in a certain area.

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