Four people have died in violence during a by-election in Lagaip electorate in Papua New Guinea's Enga Province which is due to be completed today.
The writs for the election, held because the poll during last year's general election was declared to have failed, are to be returned at 4pm PNG time on Friday.
An additional issue is the sudden resignation of the returning officer Newman Wailyo.
In his resignation letter to the PNG Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai, Wailyo said the decision was not "an easy one, but recent events and circumstances have compelled me to prioritise my safety and well-being".
Wailyo provided four reasons for his resignation, including being intimidated by political candidates and their supporters, the prevailing atmosphere of violence in Enga Province and the lack of security for his safety.
RNZ Pacific's PNG correspondent Scott Waide said the Wailyo fears for his safety and that of his family.
"[Wailyo] has been threatened," Waide said.
"He outlined that the grounds for his resignation include constant intimidation, threats to himself as well he cited the four deaths. I guess he doesn't want to be associated with any of the violence that has happened so far.
"But of greater concern has been his personal security and that of his family".
One resident from Wabag, the provincial capital of Enga Province, Paul Kanda, said on Facebook that: "All the business houses and the only bank is closed including the Wabag Primary school and main market."
"Police and defence are outnumbered and the situation is tense. By means of hear and say; there are and were people being injured and killed but yet to be confirmed," Kanda posted.
Following the national poll in July 2022, the Lagaip Open seat, which was won by Tomait Kapili, was declared failed because of the violence and intimidation that had surrounded it.
Lagaip was one of the most lawlessness electorates in an election deemed the worst in the country's history.
The PNG government has set up an inquiry but no specific remedies have been put forward yet.