5 Apr 2012

Papua New Guinea defers national election

7:52 pm on 5 April 2012

Papua New Guinea's government has taken the unprecedented step of deferring the country's national elections.

The ABC reports the government successfully moved a motion to defer the national elections by six months with a vote of 63 to 11.

Before the vote, the minister assisting the prime minister on electoral matters, Waka Goi delivered an update on electoral preparedness.

He said there was a fundamental shortfall of around $30 million, electoral rolls were not ready and police were also not ready to provide security.

During the debate most MP's supported the moves, while others said the delay should only be two months.

Deputy prime minister Belden Namah said the deferral was a special case, and the government was not hungry for power.

Former attorney general Sir Arnold Amet says the deferral is unconstitutional and will be challenged in court.

Elections are usually held every five years in Papua New Guinea and voting was due to begin at the end of June.